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Civil Societies and Democratization

Assumptions, Dilemmas and the South African Experience

Lorenzo Fioramonti

During the past 20 years, the term ‘civil society’ has acquired a specific space within political and social discourse. Journalists have written extensively about this term, political leaders have employed it ever more frequently, and scholarly research has been equally fascinated by the idea of civil society. Paradoxically, the notion of civil society constructed its space within socio-political research as it remained largely unexamined, especially in its relation to democracy and democratization theory. Indeed, most academic literature on democratization has assumed the democratizing power of civil society, based largely on the wake of events occurring in Eastern Europe and some parts of Africa during the late 1980s and early 1990s, rather than on firmly-grounded empirical research.

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Round table report

Advancing regional social integration, social protection, and the free movement of people in Southern Africa

Lorenzo Fioramonti

The round table on “Advancing regional social integration, social protection, and free movement of people in Southern Africa” was organized as part of the conference “Regional governance of migration and social policy: Comparing European and African regional integration policies and practices” held at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) on 18–20 April 2012, at which the articles in this special issue were first presented. The discussion was moderated by Prince Mashele of the South African Centre for Politics and Research and the participants included: Yitna Getachew, IOM Regional Representative for Southern Africa, Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA); Jonathan Crush, University of Cape Town and Balsillie School of International Affairs, Canada, representing the Southern Africa Migration Program (SAMP); Vic van Vuuren, Director of Southern African ILO; Vivienne Taylor, South Africa Planning Commission; Sergio Calle Norena, Deputy Regional Representative of UNHCR; Laurent De Boeck, Director, ACP Observatory on Migration, Brussels; Wiseman Magasela, Deputy Director General Social Policy, South African Department of Social Development; and Sanusha Naidu, Open Society Foundation for South Africa.

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Bob Deacon, Lorenzo Fioramonti and Sonja Nita

In many respects, Europe and Africa (particularly Southern Africa) represent two opposing examples in the study of intra-regional migration and social cohesion. The European Union (EU) has been a global pioneer in allowing freedom of movement and portability of social rights across member states. A centerpiece of the EU integration process has been the progressive establishment of a common market, in which goods, services, capital, and people can move freely. With regard to the latter, the concept of free movement originally only targeted the economically active population (in other words, the free movement of workers) but was gradually extended by Treaty amendments to all citizens of the EU. This extension was further strengthened by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, which introduced the concept of citizenship in the European Union thereby establishing the fundamental and personal right to move and reside freely within the EU.