NGOs and social movement theory

Authored by: Clare Saunders , Silke Roth

Routledge Handbook of NGOs and International Relations

Print publication date:  April  2019
Online publication date:  April  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138285507
eBook ISBN: 9781315268927
Adobe ISBN:


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NGOs are, quite literally, everywhere, even in authoritarian regimes (Willetts 2002). As we write and you read, they are engaging in advocacy, the provision of expertise and delivery of services and contracts, and sometimes they join coalitions in protest events. They are affecting social, political and cultural institutions and/or delivering services at multiple scales on almost every conceivable issue. According to the UN, an NGO is almost any private organisation that is independent from government, does not challenge government for power (i.e. is not a political party), and is non-profit-making and non-criminal/non-violent. NGOs therefore include interest groups, pressure groups, lobby groups, private organisations, voluntary organisations and umbrella groups for political parties (that do not themselves seek office) and some social movement organisations (SMOs).

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