Creating Spaces of Resistance: Development NGOs and their Clients in Ghana, India and Mexico

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Abstract

Development NGOs have been accused by some of being new instruments of control, domesticated by the neoliberal project. For others, they elaborate and pursue alternative dreams. In this paper, we argue that, although the majority of NGOs have been co-opted to serve hegemonic development agendas, they nevertheless present a fluid, contradictory web of relations, within which a significant minority seeks to make spaces of resistance, and where even the most neoliberal NGOs are used by some clients to create new associational spaces. Drawing on work with NGOs in Ghana, India, Mexico and Europe, we explore various strategies deployed by this minority of “independent thinking NGOs”. We argue that there is an important production of Melucci's submerged networks or latent social movements, however limited their political impact to date.

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