Can NGOs Make a Difference?

Can NGOs Make a Difference? : The Challenge of Development Alternatives

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Can non-governmental organisations contribute to more socially just, alternative forms of development or are they destined to work at the margins of dominant development models determined by others? This book provides a comprehensive update to the NGO literature and a range of critical new directions to thinking and acting around the challenge of development alternatives. The book's originality comes from the wide-range of new case-study material it presents, the conceptual approaches it offers for thinking about development alternatives, and the practical suggestions for NGOs. At the heart of this book is the argument that NGOs can and must re-engage with the project of seeking alternative development futures for the world's poorest and more marginal. This will require clearer analysis of the contemporary problems of uneven development, and a clear understanding of the types of alliances NGOs need to construct with other actors in civil society if they are to mount a credible challenge to disempowering processes of economic, social and political development.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 544.31g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • figures
  • 1842778935
  • 9781842778937
  • 183,627

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Author Information

Anthony Bebbington is Professor of Nature, Society and Development in the Institute of Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester, an ESRC Professorial Fellow, and also a member and research affiliate of the Centro Peruano de Estudios Sociales, Lima, Peru. He has a PhD in Geography and has held positions at the University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Cambridge, International Institute for Environment and Development, Overseas Development Institute and World Bank. His work addresses the relationships among civil society, livelihoods and development, with a particular focus on social movements and NGOs in Latin America and more recently development conflicts and extractive industries. Books include NGOs and the State in Latin America (1993, Routledge, with G Thiele), The Search for Empowerment: Social Capital as Idea and Practice at the World Bank (2006, Kumarian, with M Woolcock and others), Development Success: Statecraft in the South (2007, Palgrave MacMillan, with W. McCourt), Los Actores de Una Decada Ganada (Abya Yala 1992, with G Ramon and others) and El Capital Social en los Andes (2001 Abya Yala, with VH Torres). Samuel Hickey is lecturer in International Development in the Institute of Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester. His research focuses on the links between politics and development, with particular reference to issues of civil society, citizenship and poverty reduction, and usually within the context of sub-Saharan Africa. He is the co-editor of Participation: From Tyranny to Transformation? (2004, Zed Books, with Giles Mohan) and has published articles in World Development, Development and Change, and the Journal of International Development. Diana Mitlin is an economist and social development specialist with staff posts at both the International Institute for Environment and Development ( and the Institute for Development Policy and Management (University of Manchester) ( Her major focus is on issues of urban poverty reduction with a particular focus on the area of secure tenure and basic services together with collective action and local organization. For the last ten years, she has been working closely with Shack/Slum Dwellers International, a trans-national network of homeless and landless people's federations and support NGOs. Recent publications include Empowering Squatter Citizen (2004, Earthscan with David Satterthwaite) and Confronting the Crisis in Urban Poverty (2006, ITDG with Lucy Stevens and Stuart Coupe).

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Review quote

'This is a timely addition to the literature on non-governmental organisations and development. Up-to-date, critical and historically informed, its seventeen chapters are written by a potent combination of both well-known experts and original new voices.' David Lewis, London School of Economics and Political Science 'This book offers a novel and reflective framework for revisiting NGO's efficacy in fashioning alternative forms of development in the post-NGO boom period. Against current security agendas, the authors envision types of NGO practice, orientation, and focus that that hold out hope for their foundational mission of "being alternative." ' Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 'These essays ... provide a number of useful insights into the NGO world.' - North South Magazine

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