CfP for a Conference: European Development Aid and NGOs

Call for Papers: European Development Aid and NGOs: Changing Notions of Civil Society in ‚North‘ and ‚South‘

This international conference is a joint cooperation between the LSE Centre for Civil Society and the CINEFOGO Network of Excellence under the 6th EU Framework Programme. The conference will take March 12th-14th 2008 at Goodenough College, London WC1.

Call for Papers: European Development Aid and NGOs: Changing Notions of Civil Society in ‚North‘ and ‚South‘

This international conference is a joint cooperation between the LSE Centre for Civil Society and the CINEFOGO Network of Excellence under the 6th EU Framework Programme. The conference will take March 12th-14th 2008 at Goodenough College, London WC1.
The aim of the conference is to investigate the changing approaches of European development aid towards European and Southern NGOs and the effects of these on the participation and well-being of poor and marginalised groups in developing countries. The conference reflects critically on the ways in which the concept of civil society is conceptualised in the \’North\‘ and \’South\‘, the strategies of support for civil society used by European donors, on the relationships between NGOs and other groups within civil society, and the changing power relations between European and Southern NGOs in the so-called North and South.
There are four key strands to the conference. The first strand explores how historical, cultural and geo-political factors affect the ways in which civil societies are constituted in Europe and `the South?, and particularly the relationships between European and Southern NGOs. This raises issues around the diverse historical experiences of particular European countries with the South, especially colonialism; the shifting bases of historical and contemporary geo-political interests; and different cultural understandings of poverty, welfare and aid.
The second strand looks at the significance of NGOs within local civil societies in `North? and `South? and compares them with other types of civil society organisations such as trades unions, social enterprises, transnational networks, faith groups, diaspora organisations etc. Is there anything distinctive about the way European NGOs engage with local civil society organisations in the South, such as the values they promote, their role in constructing public understanding of development in the North, and their institutional cultures and practices?
The third strand explores whether there are distinctive approaches amongst EU bilateral aid agencies to their understanding of the respective roles of state, civil society and market in development processes and how these then contribute to framing aid policies towards European NGOs, Southern NGOs and governments. This strand raises a number of key issues such as whether these approaches derive from distinct approaches to welfare provision; whether these approaches translate into distinct modalities for transferring aid such as partnerships or sub-contracting arrangements; and in a context where EU policy is increasingly channelling aid to Southern governments and directly to Southern NGOs, what this then implies for the role of Northern NGOs.
The fourth strand examines the effects of these different approaches and aid modalities on the way NGOs, both in the \’North\‘ and \’South\‘ conceptualise and operationalise participation and well-being; how they interact with government agencies and other groups within civil society; and the consequences thereof for poor and marginalised groups in the South?

Key plenary speakers include Professor Neera Chandhoke, Director of the Centre for Developing Countries Research Centre, University of Delhi and Professor Partha Chatterjee, Department of Anthropology, University of Columbia, USA

If you wish to present a paper at the conference, please submit an abstract of 300 words + CV by September 15th 2007 to Jane Schiemann at the Centre for Civil Society at ccs@lse.ac.uk. Your abstract should indicate clearly the strand into which it falls. You will be informed by October 15th as to whether your abstract has been accepted. Conference papers should be 6,000-7,000 words in length.