240 pages | 26 B/W Illus.
Ragged Trousered NGOs is a compelling insider account of the NGO sector and wider civil society over the past 40 years, examining how and why people take collective action and engage in social development projects. The book explores different organisational and methodological aspects of NGO work and social action, asking what was possible to achieve at grassroots level at different times, in different economic and political contexts in East and West. Adopting a critical perspective, the author argues that social action continues to play a vital and varied role, and yet it struggles to challenge deep-rooted power relations and traditional forms of behaviour in today's unequal world.
In particular, the book draws on examples from the former Soviet Union in transition, and the UK's voluntary sector over the last 40 years, with a view to challenging Eurocentric views about organisations and communities. The analysis adopts a Gramscian view of hegemony and an internationalist and anti-war position on key issues arising in the new hot and cold wars. The book concludes by addressing the challenges for development workers, noting the precarious nature of NGO work despite its many achievements, and guiding the reader in how social activists can pick up more strength and support.
This book's insider perspective on progressive forms of organisational management will be of considerable interest to civil society and NGO development workers, as well as to researchers and students in the fields of international development, politics, sociology, and regional studies.
Introduction: A story of civil, social and political activism that starts in East London and travels to the USSR and post-soviet Russia and Central Asia
1. On time, place and youth activism, from Kyrgyzstan’s 2010 revolution to the anti-racist movement in East London in the 1970s
2. Schools of self-management: promoting an alternative urban strategy in the face of Thatcherism in the 1980s
3. International volunteering and solidarity and the fall of soviet socialism
4. NGO capacity builder: organisational development in Central Asia in the transition period
5. Improving services or promoting rights – ideological and practical dilemmas for NGOs faced with cuts to social welfare East and West
6. Working in conflict: a Gramscian and world systems analysis of NGO responses in the new hot and cold wars
7. Theories of change: new agendas of civil society, social and political activists at the international, national and local levels
Conclusion: towards 2020