POL S 403 A: Advanced Seminar In International Relations

Meeting Time: 
MW 11:30am - 1:20pm
THO 335
Prof. Aseem Prakash
Aseem Prakash

Syllabus Description:

September 22, 2017

NGO Politics (POL S 403b)

Aseem Prakash

Fall 2017


 Class Time:          Monday and Wednesday, 11:30-1:20 

Class Location:    Thomson 335

Office Hours:       By appointment

Office:                   39 Gowen

E-mail:                  aseem@uw.edu

Home Page:          http://faculty.washington.edu/aseem/


Course Objective

Non‑governmental, non-profit organizations (NGNPOs) have emerged as important actors in local, national, and international politics. As units of collective action, they advocate policy positions and produce collective goods. They are often viewed as crucial building blocks for democracy and economic growth. NGNPOs compete and cooperate with governments and with firms.  Importantly, they compete and cooperate with one another for membership, external funding, and media attention. Although they are termed as ‘non-governmental’ organizations, many of them rely on governments for much of their funding. And, some NGNPOs have highly questionable and normatively inappropriate goals. In sum, there is a scholarly need to systematically examine NGNPOs as units of collective action, and answer key questions such as under what conditions they emerge, how they structure their organization, how they function, and how they influence policy.

Several literatures study the advocacy and collective good provision functions of NGNPOs. These are:

  • the NGO politics and civil society literatures in political science,
  • the social movement literature in sociology, and
  • the non‑profit (NP) literature in public policy/administration/management.

This course will investigate key theoretical and empirical issues raised in these literatures pertaining to NGNPO goals, strategy, politics, and efficacy. We will focus on topics that are theoretically and empirically interesting, and have attracted scholarly attention.



Aseem Prakash and Mary Kay Gugerty. Editors. 2010. Advocacy Organizations and Collective Action. 2010. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.


I have uploaded journal articles on Canvas.

 Course Expectations

This course requires active student participation. You are expected to energetically and thoughtfully contribute to class discussions in the following ways.

Student Presentations

For every session, students will present and critique the assigned articles. The discussant-presenter should prepare a two-page (single-spaced) “Article Memo” which summarizes the article, examines its strengths and weaknesses, and identifies questions it raises for future research. Please email this memo to the class by Sunday noon for the Monday class, and by Tuesday noon for the Wednesday class. The discussant-presenter should budget about 10-15 minutes for the in-class oral presentation.  

Class Participation

Needless to say, I expect seminar participants to review all the assigned readings prior to the class.  Based on these readings, for any 6 sessions (the course has three parts; 2 memos from every part of this course), please will email me two questions or issues you want to discuss in the class (students assigned a specific article will not do so; they will email their “Article Memo” only). Instead of listing your questions, please briefly explain how these questions contribute to our understanding of the article(s) under discussion. Your “Key Questions Memo” should be about one page (single-spaced) and reach me by Sunday noon for the Monday class, and by Tuesday noon for the Wednesday class

Research Paper

A five-page (single-spaced; excluding references and tables) research paper is due December 6. Identify an NGO and explore any two of its salient dimensions such as organizational structure, advocacy or service delivery strategies, fund-raising, etc. Make sure to relate this to the relevant readings in the course. Alternatively, identify two NGOs and compare them on the above dimensions. One page paper outline is due November 8.


Article Memos:                 30 points

Key Questions Memos:     30 points

Class Participation:          20 points

Research Paper:               20 points



I reserve the right to change the syllabus without prior notice.


Class Schedule

________________________________Part 1_______________________________________


Session 1

Wednesday, September 27

Introduction to the course


Session 2

Monday, October 2

What is Civil Society?

  • 1994. The Rise of the Nonprofit Sector. Foreign Affairs, 73, 109–122.
  • 1969. An Exchange Theory of Interest Groups. Midwest Journal of Political Science, 13(1): 1-32.
  • Johnson and Prakash. 2007. NGO Research Program: A Collective Action Perspective. Policy Sciences. 40(3): 221-240.


Session 3

Wednesday, October 4

The Spread of Civil Society

  • 2006. A View from the Top: International Politics, Norms, and the Worldwide Growth of NGOs. International Studies Quarterly. 50: 45-57.
  • Salamon and Anheier. 1998. Social Origins of Civil Society. Voluntas. 9: 213-248.
  • 2004. Too Much Civil Society, too Little Politics: Egypt and Liberalizing Arab Regimes. Comparative Politics: 181-204.


Session 4

Monday, October 9

Variations in Civil Society

  • Haddad, 2017. Analysing State–Civil Society Associations Relationship: The Case of Lebanon, Voluntas. 28:1742–1761.
  • Aiyede, 2017. Civil Society Efficacy, Citizenship and Empowerment in Africa, Voluntas. 28:1326–1345.
  • 2017. Institutionalizing Japanese Philanthropy Beyond National and Sectoral Borders: Coevolution of Philanthropy and Corporate Philanthropy from the 1970s to 1990s, Voluntas. 28: 697–720.


Session 5

Wednesday, October 11

National Styles of Civil Society

  • Rikmann and Keedus. 2013. Civic Sectors in Transformation and Beyond: Preliminaries for a Comparison of Six Central and Eastern European Societies. Voluntas. 24: 149-166.
  • Archambault, Priller, and Zimmer. 2014. European Civil Societies Compared: Typically German–Typically French?. 25: 514-537
  • 1952. The Two Democratic Traditions. The Philosophical Review. 61: 451-474.


Session 6

Monday, October 16

Bottom Up or Top Down?

  • 1995. Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital. Journal of Democracy. 6(1): 65-78.
  • Skocpol, Ganz, and Munson. 2000. A Nation of Organizers. American Political Science Review. 94(3): 527-546.
  • McFarland and Thomas. 2006. Bowling Young: How Youth Voluntary Associations Influence Adult Political Participation. American Sociological Review. 71(3): 401-425.


Session 7

Wednesday, October 18

Social Capital

  • Woolcock and Narayan. 2000. Social Capital: Implications for Development Theory, Research, and Policy.The World Bank Research Observer. 15(2): 225-249.
  • Wollebaek and Selle. 2002. Does Participation in Voluntary Associations Contribute to Social Capital? Non-Profit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 31(1): 32-61.
  • Dolšak. 2017. Bowling Together: Mobilization of Collective Action by Environmental NGOs. Non Profit Policy Forum. 8(1): 25–44

_______________________________________Part 2_______________________________

Session 8

Monday, October 23

Advocacy Strategies

  • 1993. The MADD queen: Charisma and the Founder of Mothers against Drunk Driving.The Leadership Quarterly. 4(3): 329-346.
  • Ron, Ramos, and Rodgers. 2005. Transnational Informational Politics: NGO Human Rights Reporting. International Studies Quarterly. 49: 557-587.
  • Guo and Saxton. 2014. Tweeting Social Change: How Social Media Are Changing Nonprofit Advocacy. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 43(1): 57-79.


Session 9

Wednesday, October 25

Advocacy Organizations and Collective Action

  • Prakash and Gugerty, Chapter 1, Introduction
  • Prakash and Gugerty, Chapter 5, Bob
  • Prakash and Gugerty, Chapter 8, Ron and Cooley
  • Prakash and Gugerty, Chapter 10, Henderson


Session 10

Monday, October 30

Advocacy Organizations and Collective Action

  • Prakash and Gugerty, Chapter 2, McGee
  • Prakash and Gugerty, Chapter 3, Gill & Pfaff
  • Prakash and Gugerty, Chapter 6, Barakaso
  • Prakash and Gugerty, Chapter 7, Pralle


Session 11

Wednesday, November 1

Problematizing Civil Society

  • 1997. Civil Society and the Collapse of the Weimar Republic. World Politics. 49(03): 401-429.
  • Chambers and Kopstein. 2001. Bad Civil Society. Political Theory. 29 (6): 837-865.
  • 2007. The Careers of NGOs Field-Workers in Bangladesh. Nonprofit Management & Leadership. 17(3). 349-365.


Session 12

Monday, November 6

Norm Conflict

  • Cloward, 2015. Elites, Exit Options, and Social Barriers to Norm Change: The Complex Case of Female Genital Mutilation. Studies in Comparative and International Development. 50(3): 378-407.
  • Dupuy, Ron, and Prakash. 2016. Hands Off My Regime! Governments’ Restrictions on Foreign Aid to NonGovernmental Organizations in Poor and Middle-Income Countries. World Development. 84: 299–311.
  • 2014. Did Ee do Good? NGOs, Conflicts of Interest and the Evaluation of Short-term Medical Missions in Sololá, Guatemala. Social Science & Medicine.120: 344-351.


Paper outline is due

Session 13

Wednesday, November 8


·                 Prakash and Gugerty. 2010. Trust but Verify? Voluntary Regulation Programs in the Nonprofit Sector. Regulation & Governance 4(1): 22 – 47.

·                 Hielscher1, Winkin, Crack, and Pies. 2017. Saving the Moral Capital of NGOs: Identifying One-Sided and Many-Sided Social Dilemmas in NGO Accountability Voluntas. 28:1562–1594.

  • Sanzo-Pe´rez, Rey-Garcia, lvarez-Gonza´lez. 2017. The Drivers of Voluntary Transparency in Nonprofits: Professionalization and Partnerships with Firms as Determinants. Voluntas. 28:1595–1621.


Session 14

Monday, November 13

Resource Dependence

  • 2007 The Growth of Donor Control: Revisiting the Social Relations of Philanthropy. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 36: 356.
  • 2017. ‘Shopping for Change’: World Vision Canada and Consumption-Oriented Philanthropy in the Age of Philanthrocapitalism. Voluntas. 28:455–471.
  • Verbruggen, Christiaens, and Milis. 2011. Can Resource Dependence and Coercive Isomorphism Explain Nonprofit Organizations’ Compliance with Reporting Standards?. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 40(1): 5-32.


___________________________________________Part 3___________________________


Session 15

Wednesday, November 15


  • Tonurist and 2017. Is Volunteering Always Voluntary? Between Compulsion and Coercion in Co-production. Voluntas. 28: 223–247.
  • Schwingel, eran-Garcia, McCaffrey, Gálvez, and Hawn. 2017. More Than Help? Volunteerism in US Latino Culture. Voluntas. 28(1): 162–183.
  • Lee and Moon. 2011. Mainstream and Ethnic Volunteering by Korean Immigrants in the United States. 22(4): 811-830.


Session 16

Monday, November 20

Charity Markets

  • Stride and Lee. 2007. No Logo? No Way. Branding in the Non-Profit Sector. Journal of Marketing Management. 23 (1-2): 107-122.
  • Sargeant and Woodliffe. 2007. Building Donor Loyalty: The Antecedents and Role of Commitment in the Context of Charity Giving. Journal of Nonprofit & Public Sector Marketing. 18(2): 47-68.
  • Keller and Shaw. 2010. NPO Branding: Preliminary Lessons from Major Players. International Journal of Nonprofit Voluntary Sector Marketing. 15: 105–121.


Session 17

Wednesday, November 22


  • Bartley, 2007. How Foundations Shape Social Movements. Social Problems. 54(3): 229-255.
  • Grønbjerg, Martell and Paarlberg. 2000. Philanthropic Funding of Human Services: Solving Ambiguity through the Two-Stage Competitive Process. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. 29: 9-40.
  • 1996. The Behavior of Foundations in Organization Frame. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 25(4).


Session 18

Monday, November 27

Foundations in International Context

  • 2017. The Changing Role of the Ford Foundation in International Development, 1951–2001, Voluntas. 28:1301–1325
  • 2017. Same Bed, Different Dreams? The Divergent Pathways of Foundations and Grassroots NGOs in China, Voluntas.
  • Godfrey, Branigan, and Khan. 2017. Old and New Forms of Giving: Understanding Corporate Philanthropy in India, Voluntas. 28: 672–696.


Session 19

Wednesday, November 29

NGOs and the War on Terror

  • 2007. Engaging Fundamentalism: The Case of Women’s NGOs in Pakistan. Social Problems. 54(3): 256–273.
  • 1999. NGO Failure and the Need to Bring Back the State. Journal of International Development. 11(2).
  • 2010. Harnessing Local Capacity: US Assistance and NGOs in Pakistan. Working paper.


Session 20

Monday, December 4

NGOs in the international Context

  • Nezhina and Ibrayeva. 2013. Explaining the Role of Culture and Traditions in Functioning of Civil Society Organizations in Kazakhstan. 24(2): 335-358.
  • Chahim and Prakash. 2014. NGOization, Foreign Funding, and the Nicaraguan Civil Society. 25(2): 487–513.
  • Laidler-Kylander, Quelch and Simonin. 2007. Building and Valuing Global Brands in the Nonprofit Sector. Nonprofit Management & Leadership. 17(3): 253–277.


 Paper turned in

Session 21

Wednesday, December 6

Faith-based Nonprofits

  • Bielefeld and Cleveland. 2013. Faith-based Organizations as Service Providers and their Relationship to Government. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 42(3): 468-494.
  • Amirkhanyan, Kim, and Lambright. 2009. Faith-based Assumptions about Performance: Does Church Affiliation matter for Service Quality and Access?. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly.38(3): 490-521.
  • 2017. NGOization of Islamic Charity: Claiming Legitimacy in Changing Institutional. Voluntas; published online.
Catalog Description: 
Examination of contemporary developments in the field of international relations. Content varies according to the nature of developments and research interests of the instructor.
Department Requirements: 
International Relations Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:32pm