Lewis, David (1998) Bridging the gap?: the parallel universes of the non-profit and non-governmental organisation research traditions and the changing context of voluntary action. International Working Paper Series, 1. Centre for Civil Society, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.
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The first CVO International Working Paper makes a set of general observations about international third sector research and argues that there are currently two ‘parallel universes’ of literature. The first of these is work which focuses on the ‘North’ (on what are often termed ‘non-profit’ or ‘voluntary’ organisations) and the second is work which examines these organisations and their activities in the ‘South’ (where they are generally termed ‘non-governmental organisations’). These two research literatures are largely separate and barely acknowledge one another. This is surprising because, despite important differences between so-called ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ country contexts, there are many common overlapping themes and concerns. The separateness creates two main problems. The first is that opportunities for learning and exchange between researchers may be restricted, particularly around organisational issues (such as governance and accountability) and approaches to poverty reduction (such as credit). The second problem is the relevance of third sector research, which needs to respond to the growing interconnectedness of problems in North and South through processes of globalisation and the growing deployment of concepts such as ‘social capital’, ‘civil society’ and ‘social exclusion’ which may transcend a simple North/South dichotomy. In conclusion, brief case studies are presented which illustrate that (i) ideas from the third sector in the South are now influencing organisations in the North; (ii) third sector organisations are exchanging ideas between North and South; (iii) third sector organisations are promoting solidarity links between communities in North and South and (iv) organisations and individuals in North and South are working jointly to develop new approaches to development work. Bridging the gap between the two literatures would reflect these recent developments within the contemporary global third sector.
|Item Type:||Monograph (Working Paper)|
|Additional Information:||© 1998 The author|
|Library of Congress subject classification:||H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor|
|Sets:||Departments > Social Policy
Research centres and groups > Centre for Civil Society (CCS)
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