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Questioning the Legitimacy of Non-governmental Organizations

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Chapter Summary

Internationally operating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are increasingly involved in international politics and policy-making. The term NGO is very broad and encompasses a wide variety of organizations. Divergence is typical for the ways in which NGOs are organized and for the scope and objectives of NGOs. NGOs range from large, long-established organizations such as the Red Cross, Oxfam, Amnesty International, and Greenpeace to, for instance, small community- based self-help groups in the South and small networks maintaining websites for the support of other NGOs or individuals. A growing number of NGOs engage in both operational and advocacy activities. Sometimes, it is difficult to determine of which function the activities of NGOs are typical. From the perspective of legitimacy, it is sometimes necessary to specify further types of actions and policies within the operational and advocacy functions, depending on the possible beneficial or adverse impact on the parties involved.

Keywords: international politics; legitimacy; non-governmental organizations (NGOs); policy-making



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