Dynamic Tensions, Civil Society and Development of the Disability Rights Movement


Dr. Emmanuel Sackey

Research Area:


Over the past four decades, civil society organizations (CSOs) have gained prominence as key actors in the development process at both state and global level. To a significant extent, the prominence of civil society organizations can partly be attributed to a paradigm shift in international development discourse and practice which emphasize on the role of civil society. The emphasis on civil society is based on the notion of participatory development which requires the involvement of various social actors in the development process (ibid). These actors in civil society vary from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), social movement organizations (SMOs), community based organizations (CBOs), religious groups, and other associational groupings organized along various interests. While the role civil society is considered crucial, the perception of it being a fundamental prerequisite for development has been contested by various scholars. Against this background, the proposed research seeks to use the Ghana disability right movement as a case study, to explore the extent to which civil society is characterized by competing interests of organized actors. In this regard the study aims to examine the extent to which variables like role duplication, competition for resources, internal democracy and the reliance on donor funds, induce conflict and cooperation within Disabled People Organizations. The study shall have a multi-disciplinary orientation by drawing on insights from the resource mobilization theory of social movement, and social identity theory. In terms of methodology, the study is intended to use a qualitative case study design.