chapter  3
The Paradox of Globalisation: Quakers, Religious NGOs and the United Nations
Pages 20

In this chapter, I want to show how the international institutional context of the UN, and the place of religious NGOs within it, reveal what I will call the paradox of globalisation. I will seek to draw out the tensions of the category of globalisation by locating the theoretical abstractions of such an idea inside the empirical test case of the UN: holding the word ‘globalisation’ as an explanatory category of the global connections and the related global compression of social and political worlds. I will illustrate the paradox of globalisation by taking the case of Quakers (the Friends World Consultation Committee) at the UN, examining the key shift of activities in the post-1990s era from their founding presence at the UN in 1945. I will then reveal the way in which religious groups, such as Quakers, have adapted to the changes within global civil society and show how the expansion of civil society does not necessarily lead to greater representation: the paradox of hegemony and plurality. My overall aim is to reveal the tensions in the construction of the category of globalisation by examining the link between religious groups and global institutions. It will reveal the unique and dynamic processes through which religious groups, operating as registered NGOs at the UN, have adapted to changes within global civil society and have become partners in global politics.