Reconceptualising NGO’s and their roles in development

ngo_reconceptReconceptualising NGO’s and their roles in development: – NGOs, Civil Society and the International Aid System
Paul Opoku-Mensah, David Lewis og Terje Tvedt (red.) Aalborg University Press, 2007

Twenty years after NGOs first emerged as objects of development research, much of the research on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and development to date has been of a variable quality. While much useful work has been done, the development NGO research field is nonetheless characterised by a combination of an over-identification with NGOs, an excessive emphasis on technical/organisational issues and a lack of theoretical-contextual analysis. The result has been work that often bows to policy rhetoric and uncritically and unhelpfully serves to sustain a set of myths about NGOs and their performance – of both a positive and a negative kind.

This volume seeks to present less well-rehearsed perspectives. Its thirteen chapters are each written by authoritative researchers in the field. The book has two main objectives: to describe and interpret key aspects of NGOs’ changing roles in devel- opment, and to present new analytical approaches. A key priority is to present work that is rooted in stronger theoretical frameworks than has previously been the case, while still maintaining a relevance to policy and practice. The authors represented here are critical of many of the theories and concepts that frame the discourse on development NGOs and many of them propose alternative analytical approaches. In particular they seek to analytically integrate the international aid system in theore- tical schemas that seek to explain NGOs and their roles in development.

The overall aim of the book is to move forward the critical research agenda on NGOs and development by challenging its normative biases, using approaches drawn from a range of disciplinary perspectives including historical ethnography, organizational studies, political science, critical theory and anthropology

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“Reconceptualising NGOs is a useful introduction to analytical approaches which are currently gaining influence in NGO research. It is an excellent pointer to studies that deserves further attention by readers who may be unfamiliar with the work of individual contributors.”
Tanya Jakimow, University of Melbourne, Australia, Voluntas, 31 March 2009

The River Nile in the Age of the British

river_nilePolitical Ecology and the Quest for Economic Power

Tvedt, Terje: 2004/2007: The River Nile in the Age of the British. London/New York: I.B. Tauris.

The River Nile in the Age of the British was shortlisted by the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies as runner up in the competition for the best book on the Middle East written irrespective of discipline.

En reise i vannets fremtid

2007: En reise i vannets fremtid, Oslo: Kagge.

I denne boka tar Terje Tvedt leseren med på en reise i vannets tegn til 25 land, mens han med en historikers perpektiv reflekterer i tekst og bilder over den sentrale politiske, økonomiske og ikke minst kulturelle betydning vannet vil få i fremtiden.
Vannet vil avgjøre menneskehetens fremtid.

Vann har formet alle samfunn – fra de første sivilisasjonene oppsto i Midtøsten og Asia for fem tusen år siden til moderne bysamfunn. Vannet vil også avgjøre menneskehetens fremtid. Usikkerheten om hvorvidt vi lever i tørkens eller flommens århundre, vil tvinge alle samfunn til fundamentale omstillinger. Gigantiske vannplaner vil endre klodens utseende mer radikalt enn noensinne. Kampen om makten over det flyktige vannet blir viktigere og viktigere, og påvirke krig og fred og globale maktforhold.

A Journey in the history of water / En reise i vannets historie

En reise i vannets historie. Fra Regnkysten til Muscat.
Grøndahl og Dreyer, 1997 / Bric, 2003 (2.opplag)

Forfatteren tar leseren med på en reise i vannets historie på fire kontinenter og i over 20 land. Boken er en blanding av reisebeskrivelse, historie og mytologi, og beveger seg fra grunnleggende spørsmål i forholdet mellom samfunn og natur til fortellinger om menneskers dagligliv gjennom et vannperspektiv. Rikholdig illustrert.

Southern Sudan: An Annotated Bibliography

This major bibliography presents researchers, consultants, planners, aid organizations and others with the most comprehensive overview of the literature on the southern Sudan. To facilitate ease of use it is organized according to important topics of regional development: agriculture and pastoralism; anthropological and cultural studies; British and European colonialism; Christian mission and church studies; development; fisheries; health; pre-colonial history; language studies; natural sciences; politics, ethnic and religious strife and civil war; travel and geography; and water and climate. There is a separate section detailing reports produced by consultants, governments, NGOs and UN and international aid organizations. An inventory of NGO and UN organizations working in the region and a chronology of events are also included.

Tvedt, Terje (2004): Southern Sudan: An Annotated Bibliography.  2 vols., 2nd. Ed., London/ New York: IB Tauris. 2004. 624 pages.

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The Nile: An Annotated Bibliography

This bibliography provides a comphrehensive survey of the literature relating to the many political, cultural, economic and developmental aspects of the Nile. All disciplines are covered, including geography, history, anthropology and medicine; travel literature, planning and project literature produced by government bodies, international agencies and consultancy firms, and literature on basin-wide planning, water agreements and water need assessments for sectors and countries. If the Nile basin countries are to pursue co-operation and development successfully, dissemination of information about the river to all countries is crucial.

Tvedt, Terje (2004): The Nile: An Annotated Bibliography. 2nd edition. London/New York: I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.  544 pages.

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Worldviews and selfimages / Verdensbilder og selvbilder

2002: Verdensbilder og selvbilder. En humanitær stormakts intellektuelle historie
Oslo: Universitetsforlaget

Last ned Verdensbilder og selvbilder (pdf)

selvbilderBoken sammenfatter noen sentrale trekk ved norske intellektuelle tenkemåter om verdensutviklingen, «den andre» og «oss». Tidsepoken som forfatteren tar for seg, er tiårene da den politiske eliten bestemte seg for å erklære Norge som en humanitær stormakt på den globale arenaen.
Gjennom en analyse av tre typer verdensbilder- romantiseringen av den tredje verden på 1970-tallet, over den humanistiske moralismen på 1980-tallet, til narsissistisk kosmopolitisme på 1990-tallet- identifiseres noen fellestrekk av stor betydning for hele nasjonens dannelsesprosess.
Boken rekonstruerer og analyserer en intellektuell tradisjon som har skapt og gjenskapt periodens dominerende oppfatninger, basert på forestillinger om at historien er universell, at verdier er universelle, og at vi er alle er forskjellige, men det er kun utenpå.

Angels of Mercy or Development Diplomats?

angels_mercyAngels of Mercy or Development Diplomats: Ngos & Foreign Aid.
1998/2001:  London: James Currey/US: Africa World Press.

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Is the world witnessing a global associational revolution spearheaded by development non-governmental organizations (NGOs)? Is the relationship between states and societies being more fundamentally redefined, even in remote, rural corners of the world? What role does the mushrooming of development NGOs play in this political-ideological process? What about NGO staff? Are they angels of mercy, government-paid development diplomats, propagandists for a triumphant West, or instruments in a coming clash between civilizations?

Presented here are cases from Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Bangladesh and Nicaragua that shed light on these complex questions. The text puts forward a critique of central theories and concepts which have dominated research and discourse on development NGOs.

Selected Reviews of Angels of Mercy or Development Diplomats. NGOs & Foreign Aid:

Tvedt’s book Angles of Mercy is a solid contribution (to my knowledge the most comprehensive on the subject to date).
Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Development and Change

Occasionally one comes across a book that not only shatters conventional assumptions about a particular subject, but also opens up new paths in the creation of knowledge in a particular area. Terje Tvedt’s Angels of Mercy or Development Diplomats is an example of one such work in the field of NGO and Development Research. (…) For those serious about understanding the non-profit sector, for the scholars and critical activists committed to building a new democratic and development order, this is a book that must be read.
Adam Habib, Voluntas

Une critique severe et très documentèe permettant de porter un regard plus acèré sur un phénomène en expansion.
Bérangére Cagnat, Le Monde Diplomatique

In this book Terje Tvedt aims to liberate the foreign aid scene from the normative jargon of the NGO community and instead to describe it in the normal language of social sciences. He succeeds.(…) He goes further in constructing a wider sociological analysis of the whole NGO phenomenon (…) Perhaps the most thought-provoking element in Tvedt’s analysis concerns concepts of partnership.
Alex de Waal, Development Policy Review

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