Should we be against Non-Governmental Organizations

Date and Time:  November 14th 6-7:30 pm Location: HL421

Speaker: Professor.Nidhi Srinivas

It seems a sad state of affairs, to turn on NGOs-- idealistic organizations seeking economic and social development in the South. But across parts of South Asia, Africa, Middle East, the Caribbean, and South America, NGOs have become targets of severe criticism. Yet two decades back, international development rode the 'NGO wave', and championed them as "magic bullets", capable of tackling problems of international development. What happened? This presentation provides a general introduction to the critical study of NGOs: I describe the shifting definitions of civil society in relation to international development; the dramatic discovery of NGO’s as organizational actors in the 1980s; and current questions of their scale, politics and vacuity. Is it sufficient to dismiss, detract or deride NGOs? What can a discussion of them contribute to critical development studies? The presentation concludes with a reflection on these questions.