ABSTRACT

Developmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are an important vehicle for transmitting support for democratization from the North to the South, in this case from Europe to Latin America.1 At the same time, Latin American NGOs are seen as a vital component of the fabric of civil societies and a means to deepen participation in the restricted or limited democracies which have developed since the 1980s (MacDonald 1997; Pearce 1997a; Serbin 1997). Consequently a recognition of their role forms an essential part of ‘second wave’ democratization studies, which is shifting attention away from transition and a preoccupation with institution building and constitutional change towards analysing the ways in which an active civil society contributes to creating ‘substantive democracy’ and the consolidation of stable democracies over time. This is stimulating a new research agenda around the global and regional activities of NGOs, the transnational relationships in which NGOs participate, and state-NGO relationships in terms of implementing the new aid agenda of good governance, democratization and reform of the state.