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An earlier draft of this Article was presented at a faculty workshop at the University of Illinois College of Law. (Author's Manuscript, March 2005) This analysis of how civil society can contribute to a better system of global governance draws on the political philosophy of civil society and the comparative law of democracy. Its first part describes the civil society phenomenon in three different international organizations: the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, and the European Union. Part Two puts forward the moral principle upon which my argument rests: liberal democracy. The next part sets the stage for the discussion of contemporary liberal theories of civil society by reviewing the history of the concept. Part Four critically examines the four dominant theories of citizen associations and their contribution to the good life in democratic societies. These theories serve as the basis for evaluating the pro-civil society reforms that have been made to date in international organizations and for suggesting additional areas of improvement. Yet the review of the literature also demonstrates, somewhat surprisingly, that the political philosophers and the civil society activists are talking past one another: the theory does not address head-on the question whether associations should be represented in public decisionmaking. For civil society theory, the democratizing potential of civil society lies in collective life outside the state. Thus, Part Five explores the comparative law of contemporary democracies and shows that interest and identity groups can participate in public life in at least three different ways: pluralism, corporatism, and republicanism. The concluding section returns to the institutional reform of international organizations. In view of the premises and ideals that inform different cultures of democracy and the realities of politics in the international realm, I argue that the public law of corporatism is the most appropriate for today's international organizations.

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International relations, Civil society, Comparative law

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