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

  • Malin Arvidson
Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 109-134
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Journal of South Asian Development
Volym: 3
Nummer: 1
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: SAGE Publications Inc.

Abstract english

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.


  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
  • participation
  • empowerment
  • NGOs
  • Bangladesh


  • ISSN: 0973-1741
Malin Arvidson. Foto: Patrik Hekkala
E-post: malin [dot] arvidson [at] soch [dot] lu [dot] se



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