Today there is a growing consensus that morality is returning to the study and practice of international relations. At the heart of this optimism for the future is the appearance of a new actor, an actor whose precise shape and contours may be indeterminate and disputed, but whose presence is not: global civil society. David Chandler takes a critical look at claims made on behalf of global civil society. How useful is the concept as an empirical description of new forces in the international sphere? Are we witnessing the social construction of a new, more ethical world on the basis of the strength of non-state actor networks armed with the 'power of ideas'? Uniquely, Constructing Global Civil Society also critically engages with the concept of global civil society as a normative project of international change. Can normative global civil society approaches potentially enlarge and restore a sense of political community, rescue a sense of human agency, or help democratize the international sphere - challenging and taming both states and markets?

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