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Title: Do-it-Yourself Aid: The Emergence of American Grassroots Development Organizations
Authors: Schnable, Allison Youatt
Advisors: Wuthnow, Robert
Contributors: Sociology Department
Keywords: Africa
Subjects: Sociology
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The number of American-based international NGOs has increased tenfold since 1990. The growth is driven by GINGOs: grassroots international non-governmental organizations, or NGOs founded by amateurs with a personal tie to a developing country, and supported with volunteer labor and individual donations. The Americans who launch these organizations typically are middle-class college graduates, but have no training or professional experience in international development. Instead of being shaped by the norms of the professional aid field, these organizations are defined by the personal relationships and skills of the people who found them. They represent a countermovement to the trend of professionalization seen in aid organizations and the nonprofit sector broadly. This dissertation combines analysis of IRS records with fieldwork and interviews in Africa and the United States. I also create an original database of all known websites for international relief, development, and human rights organizations registered with the IRS in 2011, which is analyzed with topic modeling and content analysis of a random sample of 150 organizations. My findings show that globalization offers a tenuous opening for nonprofit organizations to bypass the isomorphic pressures of professionalization. And while supporting world society theory’s claims about the ways individual agency and rationalism shape international organization, I show that the expressive possibilities of nonprofit organizations are critical in understanding GINGOs’ emergence. I describe implications for development aid and for the American communities that support these groups.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Sociology

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