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The politics of NGO registration in international protectorates: The cases of Bosnia and Iraq

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sam Jeffrey


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Following international interventions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq, NGOs have played a central role in delivering humanitarian relief, encouraging participation in new systems of government and advocating on behalf of marginalised groups. Though intervening agencies have framed such autonomous organisations as unquestionably virtuous, increasingly scholars have questioned the agency of NGOs, pointing to the constraining effects of funding and regulatory mechanisms. This paper contributes to this work through a detailed examination of legislation requiring NGOs to register with nascent state institutions. Drawing on case study material from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq, we argue that NGO registration should not be dismissed as a technical or legal matter, but rather embraced as a significant political practice embedded in relations of power. Our empirical evidence suggests that rather than viewing NGO-state relations as two ‘sides’ of a binary power relation, the empirical reality suggests a more ‘networked’ model of conflict and collusion.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bolton M, Jeffrey A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Disasters

Year: 2008

Volume: 32

Issue: 4

Pages: 586-608

ISSN (print): 0361-3666

ISSN (electronic): 1467-7717

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.2008.01056.x


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