(Aberystwyth University )
Paper long abstract:
‘Local’ NGOs in Africa are frequently accused of being agents of globalisation or rather of westernisation. They are seen as bringers of western culture, a comprador class of intermediaries who bring the influence of the west to their compatriots. As self proclaimed advocates of development these are organisations openly committed to the advancement of western modernity.
This position however is deeply problematic for it makes many assumptions and relies on an unproblematised dichotomy between the local and the global which is frequently a westernised global. The global and the local are, however, produced and re-produced together through discourses and practices and do not exist as separate realms but rather are productive of each other. ‘Local’ NGO discourses are sites of production for both the local and the global and produce particular locals and particular globals.
The recognition of the produced nature of the local and the global, require an engagement with the entanglement of NGOs with power relations at levels which can be considered both global and local. Not only does the paper refute the simplistic westernising NGO, but asks for an awareness of the power relations which are being enacted by the production of a particular often idealised local which can actually produce subjects incarcerated within its confines.