Performing global citizenship: women NGO workers' negotiations of complicities in their work practices

de Jong, Sara (2010) Performing global citizenship: women NGO workers' negotiations of complicities in their work practices. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

[img] PDF (Thesis - as examined) - Repository staff only until 8 March 2018. Subsequently available to Anyone - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (1MB)


The practices of NGOs and development agencies located in the global North have been criticised for displaying (post-)colonial continuities. Concurrently, western feminism has been critiqued for assuming universality in the experiences of white western women. Hence there is a need for reflection on operating within and resisting of these power structures.

Using interview data, this thesis investigates the reflections of women NGO workers located in the global North working on gendered issues to support women in and from the global South. The thesis situates the women’s reflections in the context of the critiques arising from feminist theory, postcolonial theory, global civil society and critical development literature. In this theoretically informed empirical study it is analysed how the women NGO workers understand their own work practices and how they negotiate their relations with the women they seek to support. This work can be placed within a relatively new genre within critical development literature, which focuses on the subjectivities, experiences, and identity construction of NGO and development workers.

The aim of the thesis is first to contribute to our understanding of the complexities and contradictions in the positioning of women who engage in justice seeking practices related to gendered issues in a global context. Second, the intention of this work is to enhance the reflexive and analytic practices of NGOs/IGOs and their employees. The thesis sketches a multi-faceted picture of the women NGO workers that transcends the good versus bad binary; it argues that while the narratives of the women NGO workers underline their complicity in hegemonic discourses, the narratives also show their awareness of the contentiousness of their position and point to possible ruptures of and resistances to the dominant power structures.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Sargisson, L.
Pupavac, V.
Tormey, S.
Keywords: NGOs; gender; women; feminism; postcolonialism; global citizenship; development; reflexivity; complicity
Subjects: J Political science > JZ International relations
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Politics and International Relations
Item ID: 11682
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2011 15:50
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2016 23:16

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View