Floating Civil Society: Legitimation Practices and the Social Positioning of Yemeni Civil Society in the Context of Development Aid

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Title: Floating Civil Society: Legitimation Practices and the Social Positioning of Yemeni Civil Society in the Context of Development Aid
Author: Al-Eryani, Yasmeen
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: This thesis discusses Yemeni civil society in the context of development aid using Bourdieu’s social theory. It examines the hypothesis that Yemeni aid-civil society comprises a distinct social class in the Bourdieuan sense. It is an analysis of restrictive and asymmetrical structures and the possibilities for social movement and repositioning. Often times Yemeni civil society is studied through a strictly local lens and is pinned down in normative terms; does it represent a popular base, is it donor-driven, is it democratic -in other words, does it fit into the pre-cut mould of civil society as envisioned by development aid or by society at large? Instead this thesis studies aid-civil society as a social class and attempts to understand how this social class is constituted by its members and how, in turn, it constitutes its members. The thesis also presents an initial attempt to broaden the framework and shed light on the position of Yemeni aid-civil society in relation to broader civil society trends and shifting relations between state and society - a phenomenon that is not exclusive to Yemen. The analysis of the social space is done in three stages; the first is through determining the perceptible distinctions that mark the outer boundary of the social space from other social groups; the second is through analysing legitimation practices articulated in the form of putative roles and functions of aid-civil society; and the third is the relational tensions and hierarchies which lead to the clustering of practices in different fields within the social space. Together these three dimensions provide an outline of the social space and allow for a discussion on the possible forms of social movement through which agents assert their subjectivity.
URI: URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201807022912
Date: 2012
Subject: aid
civil society
legitimation practices
grounded theory method
Discipline: Yleinen valtio-oppi, politiikan tutkimus
Political Science, Politics
Allmän statslära, politologi

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