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NGOs, civil society and democratisation: a critical review of the literature

By C. Mercer

Abstract

One of the most striking features of the anglophone literature on NGOs is the diversity of NGO sectors and their contributions to civil society and democracy; yet, exploration of this complexity is often eschewed in favour of a normative approach in which the apparently mutually enhancing relationship between NGOs, civil society and the state is underpinned by liberal democratic assumption rather than an engagement with wider debates about the politics of development. Following a critique of this approach to NGOs, civil society and democracy, the paper argues that the role of NGOs in the politics of development is far more complex than much of the NGO literature would suggest, and calls for a more contextualized and less value-laden approach to the understanding of the political role of NGOs

Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1191/1464993402ps027ra
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/2168
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