Handbook of Research on NGOs
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Handbook of Research on NGOs

Edited by Aynsley Kellow and Hannah Murphy-Gregory

This volume provides a critical overview of research on Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs). While it notes that the definition of NGOs is contested, and can include both business and national groups, it focuses primarily on international NGOs engaged with human rights, social and environmental concerns, and aid and development issues. With contributions by Peter Willetts, Tom Davies, Bob Reinalda and other leading scholars, it provides a series of critical essays on both general aspects of NGOs and significant issues of particular concern.
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Chapter 8: Non-governmental development organisations

Hartmut Elsenhans and Hannes Warnecke-Berger


Development NGOs arose from a crisis of the Third World development state. Unlike the state, NGOs practise “small is beautiful”, channelling resources to people incommensurate to the benefits received from the NGO. NGO- managed resources are thus rents that tend to escape control by pure economic forces. The NGO world is state-created, and NGOs employ moral arguments for autonomy using material and ideological support from other, highly legitimate, spheres of society. This struggle is essentially political, but based on economic issues. The power of NGOs arose from the image of superiority to state development assistance administration. NGOs are increasingly changing their relations vis-à-vis the state in favour of cooperation by assuming functions previously fulfilled by the state. Western NGOs became institutions for distributing government money to financially weak Southern NGOs, finding themselves torn between accountability to donors in the global North and responsiveness to target groups in the global South.

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