Sarah S. Stroup and Wendy H. Wong

The Authority Trap

Strategic Choices of International NGOs

Cornell University Press 2017

New Books in Human RightsNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network March 8, 2018 Heath Brown

In The Authority Trap: Strategic Choices of International NGOs (Cornell University Press, 2017), Sarah S. Stroup and Wendy H. Wong argue that a small...

In The Authority Trap: Strategic Choices of International NGOs (Cornell University Press, 2017), Sarah S. Stroup and Wendy H. Wong argue that a small set of international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) have acquired an unusually large amount of authority. These are the leading INGOs that have become household names across the world, such as Amnesty International or Oxfam. Yet, Stroup and Wong make the case for the tenuous nature of this position as leaders: in order to hold on to the position, INGOs avoid radical opinions in favor of more incremental approaches to global social change. Leading INGOs are in many ways trapped. Using detailed case studies and hundreds of interviews, Stroup and Wong show that INGOs must temper their behavior to maintain a delicate equilibrium and preserve their status. (Note: during the interview, the organization Wendy Wong mentions is called Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC.)

Stroup is Associate Professor of Political Science at Middlebury College and Wong is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto.

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