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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Civil Society and North American Integration

Working Paper by Laura Macdonald

This brief report serves as the introduction to Mapping the New North American Reality, a series of brief articles written by Canadian, American, and Mexican policy experts exploring the nature of North American economic integration. The purpose of this collection is to advance understanding in a way that would transcend debates centred on traditional concepts of national sovereignty and trade policy. The contributors to this collection include experts from different sectors and fields, and from governments, universities, and NGOs.

Laura Macdonald argues that recent proposals put forward to deepen North American integration have largely ignored the role of civil society. She notes that civil society may have been overlooked because others often assume that it is an inhibitor, and not a driver, of integration. Macdonald argues that proposals for deepened integration which ignore civil society do so at their own risk; civil society has become extremely important in marshalling public opinion and mobilizing opposition to these initiatives for “globalization from above.” At the same time, Macdonald argues that civil society is an important driver of a different form of integration – one based on “globalization from below,” as cross-border linkages among labour, women, environmentalists, and other groups deepen. Macdonald concludes that civil society organizations, in all their diversity, deserve a voice in any projected re-thinking of North America.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Laura Macdonald;
Publisher: Institute for Research on Public Policy [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: International;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / International Law & Politics / Canada - U.S. Relations
Policy Articles / International Trade, Development & Finance / Civil Society & Democratization
Policy Articles / International Law & Politics / Canada - U.S. Relations / 2004
Policy Articles / International Trade, Development & Finance / Civil Society & Democratization / 2004
Policy Articles / International Law & Politics
Policy Articles / International Trade, Development & Finance


Keywords / Tags:

civil society; public opinion; North American integration; globalization from above; globalization from below; cross-border linkages;