Linköping Studies in Arts and Science
Patronage, Politics and Pollution
Precarious NGO-State Relationships: Urban Environmental Issues in South India
som för avläggande av filosofie doktorsexamen vid Linköpings universitet
offentligt försvaras i sal Elysion, Hus T, Universitetsområdet Valla,
fredagen den 15 januari, 1999, kl 10. 15.
Rapid urban population growth is a striking feature for most cities in developing countries. Such demographic change, compounded by political power structures, industrialisation and culture, pose big institutional challenges in coping with urban environments. Already today, the government and local authorities in urban centres face great difficulties in coming to grips with environmental decay. For example, there is a widening gap between public service demands, and what is being supplied by the government and environmental legislation, is poorly implemented.
Riding on the tidal wave of doubts about state-led development, Non-Governmental Organisations (NG0s) are under way to play the role of new development wizards. The NGO-sector has been attributed a plethora of capacities from various sources, such as donors, governments and the NGO-sector itself. NG0s' role in various aspects of development ranges from more tangible comparative advantages in the field of service provision to the poor, to an ability to independently restructure political and social life and formulate alternative pathways to development. Currently, a new role - partners in development - has been ascribed the NGO-sector. Both in international, national and local contexts partnership and increased cooperation between NG0s and the state have been envisaged as a new development model. This study looks into the possibilities of forming such a partnership. From the perspective of NGO-state relationships the study critically assesses NGO abilities in the area of urban environmental issues and their role in restructuring local political life.
Many NGO analysts seem to have paid little attention to the fact that organised environmental activism does not take place in a vacuum, The impact of such activism and the possibility of forming NGO-state partnerships is dependent on sociopolitical structures which influence societal dynamics at local and national levels. This study draws on patron-client theories where patterns of reciprocal exchanges, asymmetry, dependence and personalised relations mark important features in understanding relational patterns between NG0s and the state. It is built on field research in a local urban context. The city of Chennai formerly called Madras) marks the geographical area of interest. Five environmental NG0s were depicted and researched.
The Tema Institute - Department of Water and
Linköping University, S-581 83 Linköping, Sweden
ISBN 91-7219-378-6 ISSN 0282-9800