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Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play an important role in the field of international development, both as providers of services to vulnerable individuals, communities and governments and as advocates for policy changes and law reform. NGOs also play a role in cultural change and political reforms.
This subject provides a critical introduction to the wide-ranging topic of NGOs and development. In addition to critically examining the development context, we will consider the wide diversity of NGOs and their roles as well as interrogate their recent rise to prominence at the international level. This subject not only highlights the importance of NGOs in development, but it also engages with the criticisms that the increased profile of NGOs in development now attracts. It will also analyse how interest in NGOs has both reflected and informed wider theoretical trends and debates within development studies, before analysing NGOs and their practices.
In this subject we also examine the relationship of NGOs with governments and how this relationship impacts on national and popular sovereignty, service delivery and civil and political freedoms. Specific consideration will be given to the ways in which NGOs are increasingly important in relation to ideas and debates about ‘development’, ‘civil society’, democracy, and the changing ideas and practices of international aid. Students’ understanding of these themes will be deepened through critical explanations of international laws and institutions, Australian laws and policies as well as case study-based assessments.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have a sophisticated and critical understanding of the history of, and thinking around, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the context of development
- Obtain a specialised understanding of the central role played by NGOs in the fields of international and national development
- Be able to understand and assess critiques of NGOs and their relationship to, and work in, development
- Have an integrated and advanced knowledge of the international legal and institutional frameworks regulating NGOS in the context of international development
- Have a sophisticated and critical understanding of the range of theoretical approaches to understanding and critiquing the work of NGOs in the context of development
- Have an integrated and advanced knowledge of Australian law and policy with respect to NGOs working in a development setting
- Have an advanced capacity to critically examine current issues arising with respect to NGOs in the context of development
- Have developed high level analytical and research skills, as well as the capacity to understand and evaluate complex legal sources and literature, and literature in related disciplines
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate superior critical and creative ideas relating to NGOs and the concept of development.
Last updated: 10 November 2023