The Real World of NGOs: Discourses, Diversity and Development

Against an international context where NGOs are still seen, in contrast to many official development agencies, as the saviours and sources of hope for an otherwise disappointing development process, Dorothea Hilhorst provides for the first time an empirically rooted and theoretically innovative understanding of the everyday politics, actual internal workings, organizational practices and discursive repertoires of this kind of organization. Her evidence and insights lead to a different picture of NGOs from the one prevailing in the literature. Hilhorst develops a model of NGOs not as clearcut organizations, but often with several different faces, fragmented, and consisting of social networks whose organizing practices remain in flux, is helpful to understanding not just these bodies, but official development agencies too.