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The Emergence of NGOs as Actors on the World Stage

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Abstract

This overview begins with a discussion of how the term NGO entered international relations in connection with the UN Charter conference. It continues with a chronological sketch of the emergence of NGOs in the nineteenth century. It then discusses the quantitative development of NGOs until today, periodisation issues, and major trends, suggesting a politico-economic perspective in tension with geopolitical IR approaches. For a fulltext see: https://books.google.se/books?id=bwaQDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT60

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Article
Recent assessments of relations between states and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) claim a global wave of state crackdowns, raising questions about the continued authority and influence of NGOs. The works reviewed here challenge the idea of a pattern of global conflict, demonstrating a range of ways in which states work with, through, and alongside NGOs. They also demonstrate that the diversity of NGO–state relations can make it difficult to generalize about these interactions across national contexts. One way to reconceptualize these relationships may be to focus on the normative commitments that states and NGOs do or do not share. Conflictual and cooperative NGO–state dynamics emerge from the many and sometimes contradictory liberal values that enabled the rise of NGOs. NGOs can embody three liberal values: visions of civil society can emphasize political freedoms, market-based visions of private action, or universalism. States may embrace some of these values while rejecting others. Thus, while the era of the unimpeded rise of NGOs may have come to an end, the shifting political spaces for NGOs do not spell an end to their influence.
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