Offering insights from pioneering new perspectives in addition to well-established traditions of research, this Handbook considers the activities not only of advocacy groups in the environmental, feminist, human rights, humanitarian, and peace sectors, but also the array of religious, professional, and business associations that make up the wider non-governmental organization (NGO) community.

Including perspectives from multiple world regions, the book takes account of institutions in the Global South, alongside better-known structures of the Global North. International contributors from a range of disciplines cover all the major aspects of research into NGOs in International Relations to present:

  • a comprehensive overview of the historical evolution of NGOs, the range of structural forms and international networks
  • coverage of major theoretical perspectives
  • illustrations of how NGOs are influential in every prominent issue-area of contemporary International Relations
  • evaluation of the significant regional variations among NGOs and how regional contexts influence the nature and impact of NGOs
  • analysis of the ways NGOs address authoritarianism, terrorism, and challenges to democracy, and how NGOs handle concerns surrounding their own legitimacy and accountability.

Exploring contrasting theories, regional dimensions, and a wide range of contemporary challenges facing NGOs, this Handbook will be essential reading for students, scholars, and practitioners alike.

part I|56 pages

History and contributions

part II|148 pages

Theory and analysis

chapter 5|15 pages

Constituting NGOs

chapter 6|11 pages

Rationalist explanations for NGOs

chapter 7|12 pages

NGOs and post-positivism

Two likely friends?

chapter 9|10 pages

The aesthetic politics of NGOs

chapter 12|14 pages

NGOs and management studies

chapter 13|14 pages

NGOs in international law

Reconsidering personality and participation (again)

chapter 14|16 pages


Global research on NGOs and the non-profit sector

chapter 15|12 pages

Primary data on NGOs

Pushing the bounds of present possibilities

part III|192 pages

Issue-areas and sectors

chapter 16|14 pages

Feminist politics and NGO mobilization

Can NGOs degender global governance?

chapter 17|14 pages

NGOs and labour

chapter 18|16 pages

NGOs and human rights

chapter 19|16 pages

Humanitarian NGOs

chapter 20|14 pages

Five generations of NGOs in education

From humanitarianism to global capitalism

chapter 22|14 pages

NGOs and peace

chapter 23|14 pages

NGOs and the environment

chapter 25|9 pages

An uncomfortable relationship

NGOs, trade associations, and the development of industry self-regulation

chapter 26|13 pages

NGOs and global trade

chapter 27|14 pages

NGOs and professions

chapter 28|16 pages

Religiously affiliated NGOs

part IV|128 pages

Regional perspectives

chapter 30|14 pages

NGOs in the European Union

chapter 32|20 pages

NGOs in East and Southeast Asia

chapter 34|11 pages

Civil societies and NGOs in the Middle East and North Africa

The cases of Egypt and Tunisia 1

chapter 35|13 pages

NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa

Potentials, constraints and diverging experiences

chapter 36|12 pages

NGOs in South Asia

part V|94 pages

Contemporary challenges

chapter 37|14 pages

Democracy and NGOs

chapter 38|16 pages

NGOs and authoritarianism

chapter 41|15 pages

International NGO legitimacy

Challenges and responses

chapter 42|14 pages

NGO accountability