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NGOs and Lifeworlds in Africa: Transdisciplinary Perspectives

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NGOs and Lifeworlds in Africa

Transdisciplinary Perspectives

Edited by Melina C. Kalfelis and Kathrin Knodel
Foreword by Aram Ziai
Afterword by Hubertus Büschel

358 pages, 9 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-80073-110-3 $145.00/£107.00 Hb Not Yet Published (June 2021)

eISBN 978-1-80073-111-0 eBook Not Yet Published

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“This is a high-quality work of scholarship that can make a contribution to African Studies, NGO Studies, and Development Studies.” • Victoria Bernal, University of California, Irvine

“I really liked the book and deeply enjoyed reading it… there is nothing quite like it out there. It’s a strong book that, surprisingly, coheres around a single overarching problem.” • Ebenezer Obadare, University of Kansas


Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become ubiquitous in the development sector in Africa and attracting more academic attention. However, the fact that NGOs are an integral part of the everyday lives of men and women on the continent has been overlooked thus far. In Africa, NGOs are not remote, but familiar players, situated in the midst of cities and communities. By taking a radical empirical stance, this book studies NGOs as a vital part of the lifeworlds of Africans. Its contributions are immersed in the pasts, presents and futures of personal encounters, memories, decision-making and politics.

Melina C. Kalfelis has lately been a fellow at the Merian Institute for Advanced Studies in Africa in Accra and works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bayreuth. She is currently conducting research on trust, violence and justice in the context of recent conflicts in the Sahel region.

Kathrin Knodel has been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the CRC 1095 ‘Discourses of Weakness and Resource Regimes’ at Goethe University Frankfurt within which she conducted research on NGO actors in Burkina Faso. Currently she is a teaching assistant at Goethe University Frankfurt.

Subject: Anthropology (General)
Area: Africa


List of Illustrations

Foreword: NGOs & Lifeworlds in Africa
Aram Ziai

Introduction: The Lifeworlds and Trajectories of NGOs in Africa
Melina C. Kalfelis and Kathrin Knodel

Part I: Engagements and Encounters

Chapter 1. An Association for Emerging Technologies and the Bases of its Longevity. The Example of Yam Pukri in Burkina Faso
Sylvestre Ouédraogo

Chapter 2. ‘I Will Not Tell Anyone Until You Have Left’: The Ending of a Development Relationship Remembered
Karen Lauterbach

Chapter 3. Becoming an Expert and Negotiating Development: A Development Studies Programme in Germany
Ulrike Schultz

Chapter 4. On Opportunities: Alternatives to Consultancy and NGOing: Developing Anthropological Team Research in West Africa
Sten Hagberg

Part II: Politics and Donors

Chapter 5. Career Trajectories of Tanzanian Aid Workers: Structural Inequalities and New Management Practices in Public Foreign Aid
Molly Sundberg

Chapter 6. The Contribution of National NGOs to Development in Burkina Faso: Review and Prospects
Alain J. Sissao

Chapter 7. Artisanal Mining – a Necessary Evil: Narratives Legitimating Large-Scale Mining as a Pathway to Development
Bettina Engels

Chapter 8. On Reciprocity (beyond Africa): The Price of Getting Donor Money: Gift Exchange in Aid Relations and the Depoliticization of NGOs
Beata Paragi

Part III: Memories and History

Chapter 9. Negotiating Tightropes: A Historical Appraisal of NGOs and their Adaptability in Nigeria’s Changing Political Space
Abimbola O. Adesoji

Chapter 10. From Development State to Non-State Development: Counterpart Careers, West German Aid and Asymmetrical Interdependence in Late Socialist Tanzania
Eric Burton

Chapter 11. Civil Society and the Challenge of Consolidating Democracy in Togo
Kokou F.L. Hetcheli

Chapter 12. The Custodians of Development Memory in Morocco: When Development Projects Create New Forms of Leadership for Policy-Making
Matthieu Brun

Chapter 13. On Institutions: On the Advantages of ‘Intentional Amnesia’: Some Preliminary Notes on a Cultural History of NGOs in Burkina Faso
Hans P. Hahn

Afterword: Ad Hoc NGOs, Structural Failure and the Politics of Silence: Stories about Development from a Village in Togo
Hubertus Büschel


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