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DrJAdkins at aol.com DrJAdkins at aol.com
Thu Apr 10 20:02:05 EDT 2008

For any who may be interested ... Apologies if you've already received this  
information through other sources.
Julie Adkins
Southern Methodist University
As has been noted by many anthropologists, nongovernmental organizations  
(NGOs) and nonprofit groups are both extremely diverse and growing in number and  
in importance. “NGOs” and ‘nonprofits’ are terms that obscure more than 
they  reveal, generalizing a heterogeneous cluster of faith-based organizations,  
grassroots groups, labor unions, women’s groups, and international NGOs, etc. 
 Currently we don’t even have the mechanisms to even estimate how many 
nonprofits  or NGOs exist worldwide. But especially following shifts heralded by 
neoliberal  globalization and the “New Policy Agenda” in the 1980s, NGOs are 
playing more  and more central roles in a host of arenas: public health, 
education,  “development,” violence against women, literacy, advocacy, human rights, 
etc. In  addition, an increasing number of professional anthropologists work 
within  nonprofits and NGOs as consultants, research staff, volunteers, and 
even  directors. 

Given this increase in NGOs’ and nonprofits’ role – and given  
anthropologists’ increasing individual contributions to providing in-depth,  ethnographic 
analyses and critiques at our professional meetings and  publications - many of 
us believe it is time to organize a more formal  collaboration, raising the 
visibility and profile of NGO studies within the  discipline and our 
association; creating space for dialogue, networking,  planning conference sessions and 
publications; offering a critical assessment of  the literature; becoming a 
point of contact for new anthropologists wishing to  meet others; establishing a 
repository of how nonprofits and NGOs have been  studied by anthropologists; 
and brainstorming future directions.  

Interested people can join the NGOs/Nonprofits and Anthropology  listserv:


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