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Semester 1 - Online
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This subject explores the concept and actuality of civil society as it relates to the legal systems of states in Northeast and Southeast Asia. It introduces and then critiques the notion of civil society in Western political thought and evaluates its applicability in contemporary Asian states. It then explores select Asian understandings and experiences in depth through case studies of government regulation of civil society organisations and the way that civil society actors influence or seek to influence government and public opinion, by advocating better or different law and policy delivery or changes (law and or policy reform) in areas such as: citizenship and electoral participation; labour conditions; the media; and the intersection of gender with these arenas of contestation. The role of legal professional organisations as advocates for law reform will also be given particular attention. All subject materials will be in English and no knowledge of an Asian language is required, but of course students are encouraged to use non-English research materials as appropriate.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should:
- Possess an integrated and advanced understanding of the historical development of, and current ideas about, civil society in the Western political tradition;
- Possess a deep and sophisticated understanding about, and be able to critically evaluate the applicability of, differing ideas about civil society in contemporary Asia and the extent to which the concept of civil society continues to have value in studying legal, social and political transformation in Asia;
- Be able to describe in detail and analyse in depth the legal constructions and changing roles of civil society organisations in Asia, by reference to the laws and policies regulating them, and to civil society actors' own understandings of their place and purpose;
- Have developed the cognitive and technical research skills necessary to locate and critically evaluate policies, programs and activities of civil society actors in their sometimes supportive, sometimes contested engagement with institutions of the state;
- Have developed the communication skills to clearly and convincingly articulate complex information and lucidly argued propositions in a research paper about the relationships between civil society and the state in select Asian jurisdictions.
On completion of this subject, students should have developed:
- An integrated and advanced knowledge of the philosophical concept of civil society, in the Western political tradition and in contemporary Asian polities;
- Mature, independent and critical thinking which evidences the ability to investigate legal and socio-political issues in depth and analyse complex, culturally- and context-specific information;
- The capacity to critically reflect upon and draw well-reasoned and evidence-based conclusions about civil society-state relations constructed from appropriate case studies.
Last updated: 1 June 2021