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Born to Be Wild? Non-governmental Organisations, Politics and the Environment



The ways in which non-governmental organisations (NGOs) pursue environmental agendas via political processes have been a subject of growing interest to geographers, anthropologists, sociologists and political scientists. This article examines how and why that interest has grown by assessing selected different approaches to the study of NGOs, environments and politics that characterise such research. Against a backdrop of growing debate over the ultimate significance of NGO action, I discuss three broad if interlinked approaches: ideology-related accounts, critical perspectives, and scholarship that ‘normalises’ NGOs as objects of study with the latter standing the best chance of capturing the contested and multifaceted contemporary significance of this actor.