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Keywords:

  • development NGOs;
  • donors;
  • international aid system;
  • Dostango;
  • civil society

Abstract

NGO researchers have rarely understood the reasons for the growth of NGOs across the world. This paper sets out the parameters for an improved framework for NGO research. Beginning with a short description of the history of the international aid system, the paper then argues that a set of concepts are needed that can establish a greater analytical distance for NGO research from a policy area that has for decades enjoyed an unusually high degree of moral and political legitimacy. In conclusion, the article argues that the institutional architecture and world views developed within this policy field will need to be integrated analytically in narratives of the general historical development of societies in the era of globalisation. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.