Closing space for civil society - How western and non-western linkages explain restrictions on foreign funding to domestic civil society organizations

University essay from Lunds universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen; Lunds universitet/Master of Science in Development Studies; Lunds universitet/Graduate School

Abstract: This thesis seeks to answer what causes some governments to restrict foreign funding to domestic civil society organizations while others do not. These repressive measures have increased significantly in all regions of the globe recently and existing research has yet to provide an encompassing explanation for the trend. Considering that neither foreign funding or government repression are exactly novel phenomena urges for looking closer at the increase of restrictions. By elaborating on Levitsky and Way’s theory on linkage and leverage (2010) and expanding on research gaps found in previous literature, the thesis argues that the issue is driven by a shift in geopolitical power relations. The thesis argues that governments implement restrictions depending on the country’s linkages to western and non-western external powers, specifically by how their respective pressure and norm preferences raise or reduce the costs of repressive behavior. A comparative, qualitative analysis on Hungary and Georgia did not support this claim. Still, the findings highlight theoretical insights into the concept of linkages and provide recommendations for further studies.

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