Substantive Characteristics of Legitimate Partner NGOs
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Substantive characteristics for judging legitimate partner NGOs typically try to establish whether they raise legitimate claims. This approach contradicts the claim which was made in favour of an unconstrained public dialogue in Chapter 7. In order for the emancipatory potential of NGOs to unfold, we need a public dialogue which allows for any and all matters to be brought under critical scrutiny. The more diverse an environment, the more important it is that public debates are open to a wide range of issues and accessible to almost all actors. For example, if we state that a partner NGO is only legitimate if it raises universal claims, we might exclude those NGOs which represent indigenous communities whose claims contradict Western notions of universalism. It is argued that a focus on substantive characteristics does not provide sufficient orientation for identifying legitimate partner NGOs, and it does neither help to distinguish them from related actor types.
KeywordsUniversalism Particularism Public good
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