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 2: The historical development of NGOs

Thomas Davies


A chronological overview of the development of NGOs from ancient precursors through to the latest transformations in the twenty-first century is offered in this chapter. It emphasizes the significant impacts NGOs have had in major world historical transformations, the interactions between NGOs and their historical contexts, and the cyclical dimensions to NGOs’ historical development. The coverage is broad, encompassing both advocacy and service organizations, and stressing the need to take into consideration developments beyond Europe and North America. The analysis draws from both a synthesis of insights from the expanding body of transnational historical research in the field, as well as from literature in related disciplines and from primary sources. The chapter culminates in a discussion of the conclusions that may be drawn from historical experience in considering challenges confronted by NGOs in the present day.

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