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NGOS and the formation of the public: Grey practices and accountability

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Laura RoutleyORCiD


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This article examines the formation of ‘the public’ or ‘the people’ as negotiated by a small number of national NGOs in eastern Nigeria. The ways in which these NGOs conceive of ‘the people’ or ‘the public’ and the actions they undertake are often at odds with conceptions of ‘the public interest’ implicit in much development policy. At the same time, their actions do not conform to a moral economy governed by obligations to primordial groups. Instead, this article argues that the NGOs are seeking a particular kind of accountability from the state, and concludes that the forms of accountability pursued by NGO workers provide important insights into how the Nigerian state is perceived and ultimately produced.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Routley L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: African Affairs

Year: 2012

Volume: 111

Issue: 442

Pages: 116-134

Print publication date: 14/12/2011

ISSN (print): 0001-9909

ISSN (electronic): 1468-2621

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/afraf/adr079


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