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Cultures of Doing Good, Cultures of Doing Good, 0817319689, 0-8173-1968-9, 978-0-8173-1968-7, 9780817319687, , NGOgraphies: Ethnographic Reflections on NGOs, Cultures of Doing Good, 0817391533, 0-8173-9153-3, 978-0-8173-9153-9, 9780817391539, , NGOgraphies: Ethnographic Reflections on NGOs, Cultures of Doing Good, 0817359737, 0-8173-5973-7, 978-0-8173-5973-7, 9780817359737, , NGOgraphies: Ethnographic Reflections on NGO

Cultures of Doing Good
Anthropologists and NGOs
Edited by Amanda Lashaw, Christian Vannier, and Steven Sampson

E Book
2017. 280 pp.
Price:  $29.95 d
Quality Paper
2019. 280 pp.
Price:  $29.95 s

Anthropological field studies of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in their unique cultural and political contexts.

Cultures of Doing Good: Anthropologists and NGOs serves as a foundational text to advance a growing subfield of social science inquiry: the anthropology of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Thorough introductory chapters provide a short history of NGO anthropology, address how the study of NGOs contributes to anthropology more broadly, and examine ways that anthropological studies of NGOs expand research agendas spawned by other disciplines. In addition, the theoretical concepts and debates that have anchored the analysis of NGOs since they entered scholarly discourse after World War II are explained.
The wide-ranging volume is organized into thematic parts: “Changing Landscapes of Power,” “Doing Good Work,” and “Methodological Challenges of NGO Anthropology.” Each part is introduced by an original, reflective essay that contextualizes and links the themes of each chapter to broader bodies of research and to theoretical and methodological debates. A concluding chapter synthesizes how current lines of inquiry consolidate and advance the first generation of anthropological NGO studies, highlighting new and promising directions in this field.

In contrast to studies about surveys of NGOs that cover a single issue or region, this book offers a survey of NGO dynamics in varied cultural and political settings. The chapters herein cover NGO life in Tanzania, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Peru, the United States, and India. The diverse institutional worlds and networks include feminist activism, international aid donors, USAID democracy experts, Romani housing activism, academic gender studies, volunteer tourism, Jewish philanthropy, Islamic faith-based development, child welfare, women’s legal arbitration, and environmental conservation.

The collection explores issues such as normative democratic civic engagement, elitism and professionalization, the governance of feminist advocacy, disciplining religion, the politics of philanthropic neutrality, NGO tourism and consumption, blurred boundaries between anthropologists as researchers and activists, and barriers to producing critical NGO ethnographies.

Amanda Lashaw is visiting assistant professor in the education department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Christian Vannier is a lecturer in the departments of anthropology and Africana studies at the University of Michigan, Flint.

Steven Sampson is professor emeritus of social anthropology at Lund University in Sweden.

"Cultures of Doing Good aims to find a place for the anthropology of NGOs and, thus, to do justice to transforming global situations. It declares the anthropology of NGOs to be an academic field of its own. [ . . . ] With these perspectives and insights the book is highly recommended for researchers of different regional focuses and disciplines, like political science or religious studies—but also for activists and practitioners."

"This valuable collection of 'second generation' studies of anthropological encounters with NGOs focuses on 'doing NGO' rather than reiterating previous emphases on the connections between NGOs, neoliberal ideology, and development policy. Case studies include examples of environmental conservation in Bangladesh and Tanzania; women’s activism in Tanzania, the Czech Republic, and India; community empowerment in Serbia and Egypt; Romani housing in the Czech Republic; voluntourism and children’s welfare in Peru; and Jewish philanthropy and reconstruction in New Orleans. While agreeing with Dorothea Hilhorst that 'NGO' is 'a slippery concept that resists categorization and homogenization,' the book also demonstrates the necessity for the study of NGOs for understanding contemporary international social and economic processes on the ground. Recommended."

Cultures of Doing Good marks a new era of NGO scholarship, one that goes beyond shock at the NGO boom in the wake of neoliberal state retrenchments. Using the contributors’ vast and diverse experiences, it tells complex stories of humanitarianism in the twenty-first century and the challenges facing scholars trying to navigate this important sector with engagement and rigor.”
—Heather Hindman, author of Mediating the Global: Expatria’s Forms and Consequences in Kathmandu and coeditor of Inside the Everyday Lives of Development Workers: The Challenges and Futures of Aidland

“This book is well written and easy to read. It is valuable for scholars in different fields, practitioners, researchers and students of social sciences. It will provide them with case studies that will help them better understand the roles and issues faced by NGOs and people working in the field. It can be used a foundation for the study of NGOs from an anthropological point of view and can add value to classroom discussion to show the opportunities and constraints that NGOs face when interacting with their environment.”

Cultures of Doing Good makes substantial contributions to anthropological works on development, humanitarianism and civil society, interdisciplinary literature on NGOs, and—given that the NGO phenomenon touches so many of us—to the discipline of anthropology as a whole.”
—Julie Hemment, author of Youth Politics in Putin’s Russia: Producing Patriots and Entrepreneurs and Empowering Women in Russia: Activism, Aid, and NGOs