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Accepted Paper:

Local collectivities broken down - How NGO-isation undermines local collective organisation in rural Mozambique  
Kajsa Johansson (Linnaeus University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper departs from literature examining the NGO-isation of civil society in development countries. Its main contribution regards the expressions of NGO-isation at local level, focusing on long-term effects on the associative movement and norms and practices of reciprocity in rural Mozambique.

Paper long abstract:

Critical scholars are increasingly questioning the roles of NGOs in developing countries. The equation of civil society with NGOs is sometimes labelled NGO-isation of civil society. Several scholars point out the need for a deepened understanding of the effects of the NGO-isation at local level and in people's everyday life. Hence, the main contribution of this paper regards the expressions of NGO-isation at local level in rural Mozambique, focusing on its long-term effects on the associative movement and norms and practices of reciprocity. The effects of NGO interventions aiming at strengthening civil society is of special interest.

The paper suggests that NGOs have profited from the existing collective organisations, without respecting it or building upon it. Collective organisation has been undermined and weakened by interventions with the supposed intention to strengthen it. Existing forms of collaboration have been instrumentalized and used vehicles to carry out activities and deliver services in areas such as education, health and agriculture within the programmes of NGOs as well as government entities. The NGO-isation has contributed to undermining and weakening of the social fabric and norms of reciprocity and mutual support in society.

The paper's empirical material consists of ethnographically inspired fieldworks in rural areas in two provinces in northern Mozambique. It includes life history interviews with peasants, traditional and religious leaders as well as with representatives from local and national government institutions, as well as observations and go-alongs.

Panel P117
Temporal Horizons in Development and Humanitarian Interventions: Traces, 'Afterlives', and Unintended Consequences
  Session 1 Friday 24 July, 2020, -