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Making civil society work: contracting, cosmopolitanism and community development in Tanzania

Mercer, Claire ORCID: 0000-0003-0991-3693 and Green, Maia (2013) Making civil society work: contracting, cosmopolitanism and community development in Tanzania. Geoforum, 45. pp. 106-115. ISSN 0016-7185

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2012.10.008


The work that NGOs now do has undergone significant change since they came to prominence as development actors in the 1980s. NGOs in Africa are shaped by a development donor civil society template that provides the resources and the training to produce a distinct sector made up of recognisable and formalised organisations which are to be organised in country-wide networks to play anticipated roles in pro-poor policy-making and holding government to account. Realising this template in the forms of organisations demands specific kinds of work through which civil society comes to be enabled as an actor in development. This work can be characterised as contracting, volunteering, and scalar work. Civil society work demands the performance of certain subjectivities amenable to interstitial positionality. Contracted cosmopolitanism plays an important role in the constitution of civil society working and in the differentiation of civil society actors from the communities which are the object of their endeavour. This paper examines the scope and constitution of civil society work in two rural districts in Tanzania.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Crown Copyright
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2012 16:54
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2024 07:57
Funders: Religions and Development Programme

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