The State and Ngos: Perspective from Asia

The State and Ngos: Perspective from Asia

The State and Ngos: Perspective from Asia

The State and Ngos: Perspective from Asia

Synopsis

Although there is already much literature on the significance of NGOs in the development process, there has been little discussion on why the NGOs take on different forms in different countries. This volume examines state-NGO relationships in 15 Asian countries.

Excerpt

In recent years non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have projected an increasingly strong presence. They can no longer be characterized simply as “volunteer organizations supporting the efforts of developing countries to develop”; they are also emerging as important actors in the realm of international politics, and have demonstrated the potential to shake even the foundations of the international economic order. in advanced countries, too, there is a growing interest in the non-profit organization sector (or npo sector), which consists of non-governmental, non-profit-oriented organizations. Thus, not only have NGOs established themselves as lasting elements of society, rather than ephemeral bodies that are active during certain phases of a society’s developmental process, but there are also high expectations that they will play the role of leading agents of “civil society”.

However, the existing literature on NGOs is concerned almost exclusively with the questions of what roles NGOs should play, and what should be done to further boost their activities. Once we turn our attention to Asia, moreover, we are struck by the varying ways in which NGOs manifest themselves in different countries. Those in South Korea are very active in the political realm. in Bangladesh there are some that resemble large private corporations. Influential NGOs in Malaysia are heavily involved in consumer movements. Very few researchers have taken note of the varying ways in which NGOs, or what might be called “NGO phenomena”, manifest themselves in different countries, and attempted to discover the origin of these differences. the present volume, the first of its kind, attempts to understand the ngo phenomena in a total of fifteen Asian countries by looking at them from a unified analytical perspective.

The analyses presented in this volume pivot around the key concept of two “spaces” that are open for ngo activities. To begin with, there is an economic space that calls for ngo activities — this involves the need for economic resources that are not properly catered for by any of the existing sectors of society, that is, the market, the state, or the community. Second, there is a political space that emerges when the state or the community . . .

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