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Online lecture: Civil Society Elites: New Perspectives on Civil Society in Cambodia and Indonesia

November 19, 2020 - 12:00-14:00

Online zoom lecture with Anders Uhlin, Lund University


In this guest lecture, Uhlin will report from an ongoing research project that explores how and why certain individuals reach leading positions within civil society and what kind of resources they use, gain and lose when they interact with and sometimes move to the state, political, and economic fields, in increasingly authoritarian Cambodia and post-authoritarian Indonesia. To many civil society researchers and practitioners, the notion of a “civil society elite” is a contradiction. Uhlin will attempt to demonstrate how an elite perspective can shed new light on internal and external civil society dynamics, highlighting power inequalities within and beyond civil society. Combining two fields of research – civil society studies and elite studies – the project identifies different types of elite formation within civil society and traces interactions and integration with elite groups from political society, economic society, and the state. The project explores how such processes play out in the context of generally shrinking (Cambodia) and relatively expanding (Indonesia) political space for civil society, and analyses the role of foreign funding in processes of elitization. In the lecture, Uhlin will elaborate on an analytical framework based in field theory and describe how the project has employed this framework to execute case studies of civil society activists, organizations, and networks operating in the fields of agriculture, youth, natural resources and environment, human rights, and anti-corruption, on national and local levels in Cambodia and Indonesia. He will report preliminary findings that challenge a view of civil society entities as relatively isolated from the state, political and economic society, by revealing power relations that link them.


Anders Uhlin

Anders Uhlin is professor of Political Science at Lund University. His main research interests are in the fields of civil society, transnational activism, global governance, and democratization. His most recent monograph analyses the role of civil society actors in a possible democratization of international organizations and other forms of global governance arrangements. More specifically, it is about civil society engagement with the Asian Development Bank and ASEAN: Civil Society and Regional Governance: The Asian Development Bank and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.



Kindly be aware of any time difference: the event will be held at 12-14 (Turku, Helsinki time) and 11-13 (Lund/Stockholm time).

To receive a Zoom link by email prior to the event, please contact Kamila Szczepanska (kamila.szczepanska@utu.fi)

Online lecture: Civil Society Elites: New Perspectives on Civil Society in Cambodia and Indonesia


November 19, 2020


Centre for East Asian Studies at the University of Turku, Finland.
NIAS – Nordic Institute of Asian Studies