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Contradictions and Confusions in Development Work: Exploring the Realities of Bangladeshi NGOs

Arvidson, Malin LU (2008) In Journal of South Asian Development 3(1). p.109-134
Abstract
Ambiguous practices and identities of NGOs have become a source of increasing concern

for all involved in development intervention. But apart from pointing at dishonest marketing

and unfortunate unintended consequences of donors’ support, how can we understand

these ambiguities? Based on an ethnographic study of local Bangladeshi NGOs,

the article explores actions and behaviour of grassroots NGO staff. The article shows how,

equipped with an ideal image of the altruistic development worker, the staff ’s encounter

with reality provides them with contradictory and confusing messages as to who they

should be and how they should act, resulting in disillusion and moral discord. The... (More)
Ambiguous practices and identities of NGOs have become a source of increasing concern

for all involved in development intervention. But apart from pointing at dishonest marketing

and unfortunate unintended consequences of donors’ support, how can we understand

these ambiguities? Based on an ethnographic study of local Bangladeshi NGOs,

the article explores actions and behaviour of grassroots NGO staff. The article shows how,

equipped with an ideal image of the altruistic development worker, the staff ’s encounter

with reality provides them with contradictory and confusing messages as to who they

should be and how they should act, resulting in disillusion and moral discord. The analysis

examines concepts such as altruism, alienation, goal ambiguity, moral selving and moral

discord, with an aim to expand our understanding of some moral dilemmas of development

practice, its sources and unpredictable outcomes. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
participation, empowerment, NGOs, Bangladesh
in
Journal of South Asian Development
volume
3
issue
1
pages
109 - 134
publisher
SAGE Publications Inc.
ISSN
0973-1741
DOI
10.1177/097317410700300105
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9edc9e34-408c-42b7-a25b-db86dfd0b543 (old id 4419922)
date added to LUP
2014-04-30 13:33:09
date last changed
2016-04-15 18:35:35
@article{9edc9e34-408c-42b7-a25b-db86dfd0b543,
  abstract     = {Ambiguous practices and identities of NGOs have become a source of increasing concern<br/><br>
for all involved in development intervention. But apart from pointing at dishonest marketing<br/><br>
and unfortunate unintended consequences of donors’ support, how can we understand<br/><br>
these ambiguities? Based on an ethnographic study of local Bangladeshi NGOs,<br/><br>
the article explores actions and behaviour of grassroots NGO staff. The article shows how,<br/><br>
equipped with an ideal image of the altruistic development worker, the staff ’s encounter<br/><br>
with reality provides them with contradictory and confusing messages as to who they<br/><br>
should be and how they should act, resulting in disillusion and moral discord. The analysis<br/><br>
examines concepts such as altruism, alienation, goal ambiguity, moral selving and moral<br/><br>
discord, with an aim to expand our understanding of some moral dilemmas of development<br/><br>
practice, its sources and unpredictable outcomes.},
  author       = {Arvidson, Malin},
  issn         = {0973-1741},
  keyword      = {participation,empowerment,NGOs,Bangladesh},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {109--134},
  publisher    = {SAGE Publications Inc.},
  series       = {Journal of South Asian Development},
  title        = {Contradictions and Confusions in Development Work: Exploring the Realities of Bangladeshi NGOs},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/097317410700300105},
  volume       = {3},
  year         = {2008},
}