chapter
5 Pages

Introduction

A book about all non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in all parts of the world would in effect cover all social and political activities of all people. The title of this book might at first glance appear to suggest such a gigantic task is being attempted. However, the subject matter is much more focused. It covers the relationships of NGOs with each other and with governments, when they are seeking to influence global political decisions. This statement contains an implied assumption that global politics can be analyzed as a distinct level of analysis, separate from politics within individual countries. Orthodox approaches to international relations deny the existence of global political systems. However, political scientists have no problems with analyzing the politics of each country as a distinct level of analysis, separate from regional or local government. Just as we can understand federal politics within the United States without a detailed knowledge of politics within Texas and every other state, so also we can study global politics without a detailed knowledge of politics within the United States and every other country. Just as we can understand NGO influence upon the US Congress, so also we can study NGO influence upon the United Nations. Thus, this book is mainly concerned about NGO activities at the global level: their relationships across country boundaries and within international organizations. The reader will find virtually no mention of local or national NGOs trying to influence their own government, nor of NGO projects within individual countries.