Civil societies in Sub-Saharan Africa enfold increasing influence at local, sectoral and national level of politics. The panel aims to debate the role civil society can play in political processes, e.g. elections, national planning or budget politics, as well as the determinants of its dynamics.
Civil societies constitute influencing variables at the macro-political level in many Sub-Saharan African countries. Political participation of civil society organisations (CSO) has become stronger since the beginning of the 1990s and has grown into significant involvement during the last ten years. It enfolds influence not only at a local and sectoral level but also at the national or macro level of politics and becomes evident in the role that CSO play in democratization processes, in election observation / monitoring, in national development planning, in budgetary processes and other political areas. Civil society is understood as a public political space, an arena where societal negotiation processes take place. This space has been described in the literature as a civil domain or as a public sphere. Questions of the role that civil society actors play at the macro-level and the determinants of its dynamics in the context of political transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa are still open and will therefore be addressed during the panel session. The panel will invite country case studies as well as comparative research results or thematically focussed papers.