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NGOs, International Donors, and the Postmaterial Disjuncture in Latin America

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Handlin, Samuel

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Abstract NGOs have proliferated in the developing world, assuming key political roles as intermediary organizations representing public interests. Yet at least in the three Latin American countries examined here, the proportion of the NGO sector focused on postmaterial issues massively outpaces the proportion of the mass public that considers these issues highly salient. This article demonstrates this 'postmaterial disjuncture' and theorizes that international donors help drive it by favoring NGOs that pursue postmaterial issues. This hypothesis is evaluated by analyzing a unique dataset containing information on over 700 NGOs. Organizations pursuing postmaterial issues are more than three times likely to receive international funding than are otherwise identical NGOs pursuing material issues. While international donors may be well intentioned, their postmaterial agendas shape the issue orientation of the NGO sector, resulting in potentially adverse consequences for its ability to effectively represent mass interests. (author's abstract)
Keywords political development; non-governmental organization; public interest; civil society; formulation of political objectives; post-materialism; value-orientation; purpose; development policy; development aid; promotion of development; funding; Latin America; developing country; Argentina; Chile; Peru
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; International Relations, International Politics, Foreign Affairs, Development Policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 43-70
Journal Journal of Politics in Latin America, 7 (2015) 2
ISSN 1868-4890
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-NoDerivs