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Title: Enslaving development : an anthropological enquiry into the world of NGO
Author: Mannan, Manzurul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2685 2519
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis investigates the conflict of values that occurs in Bangladesh between NGOs and wider society. It examines the dynamics of BRAC, a large NGO, in order to illustrate the dissonance and inconsistencies in development discourse. Tension is evident in development, which is a multi-stranded process, in which each strand may complement or contradict the others. The process may also be understood in terms of the societal change that results from an attempted synthesis of the contradictory, clashing values of Western agency (individualism, equality, market, etc.) and Bangladeshi rural cultural life (community, hierarchy, subsistence, etc.). Development processes, backed by strong finance, introduce Western ideas and theories to the South. NGOs subscribe to a global policy language in transforming these ideas into locally implementable programmes and projects, ignoring the diverse social, cultural and political settings in which they work. When villagers come into contact with these projects, they are pushed towards a sense of individualism, but instead of developing this individualism, they produce a new form of collectivism. In this hybrid environment, actors engaged in development adhere neither to the old values nor to new ones. Projects aimed at modernization, itself, have undergone change from a blue-print approach to a process approach. In reality, top-down approaches are renamed but not reformed into bottom-up approaches. NGO projects targeting women, notably through micro-credit programmes, contribute to the rise of women-only organisations as well as matri-focal groups that constitute a challenge to male-dominated village associations. Micro-credit also polarises the traditional notions of money into moral and immoral money to produce new arenas of dispute. Overall, religious groups oppose such NGO interventions. Conflict occurs within NGOs themselves. This is evident when BRAC, as an organisational entity, seek to accommodate to Western, Bengali and Islamic cultural traits which further generate conflict and are managed by a culture of fear or indulgence. Unless knowledge is shared by both parties there is the strong likelihood of increased conflict to the detriment of both NGOs and the local people.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available