of World Cultures, Berlin
11th to 14th August 2005
BERLIN CHAPTER: House of World Cultures, Berlin
August 12th, 2005
11.00 am – 6.00 pm
Civil Society and Development Aid: The Politics of Responsible Engagement
We examine here the role of development aid as it responds to the
needs of civil society. Globalisation has brought into sharp perspective
the changed roles of state, markets and civil society when addressing
a world of increasing social divides, income divides. The focus
on deregulation and privatization in all social sectors has had
its influences on development aid as well. Traditional responsibilities
of social actors in meeting the crisis of a world of severe divides
have come into questioning.
What are the positions of development aid institutions in negotiating
this crisis? Are the ideologies of market ethics gaining a foothold
in development donor institutions? Are pressures from governments
on aid institutions in north countries being passed on to partnerships
in the South? Is the grammer of critical debate alive and active
in aid institutions? Are civil society organizations which are dependant
on aid also undergoing structural adaptations to better accommodate
the demands of aid institutions? Are the instruments of aid capable
of respecting autonomy, democratic debate and honoring just partnerships
where power is not actively used to destroy and the freedom for
responsible social action?
These broader questions are posed by us with the intentions of widening
the scope of the debate on the role of aid, citizenship and democracy.
The increasing rhetoric of ‘aid is trade’ needs to be
put down and a more serious quality of engagements between partners
in social development needs to be built.
Shobha Raghuram is Director
of the India Regional Office of the Humanist Institute for Cooperation
with Developing Countries, Bangalore. She obtained a PhD in Philosophy
from the University of Pune, in 1981. She did her Post Doctoral
Research at the University of Sorbonne, Paris in the History of
Ideas and Hermeneutics on a Government of France Fellowship. Her
research interests include development policies, role of develop-ment
aid, civil society, livelihood concerns and ethics in public life.
Respondent: Susanne Schultz,
political scientist, specialist on population politics, Berlin.