Polar opposites? NGOs, left parties and the fight for social change in Nepal

Ismail, Feyzi. 2018. Polar opposites? NGOs, left parties and the fight for social change in Nepal. Critical Sociology, 44(4-5), pp. 629-643. ISSN 0896-9205 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In the early 1990s, when NGOs were rising to prominence as an ostensible force for social change in Nepal, the Maoists were also beginning to organise, and denounced NGOs as agents of imperialism. The Maoists came to prominence by fighting a People’s War launched in 1996, with the intention of improving life for the poor peasant and working-class majority. But after a decade-long struggle, the Maoists became incorporated into the parliamentary system. While Nepal’s first democratic revolution in 1990 met formal, popular political demands, which were consolidated in a subsequent revolution in 2006 overthrowing the monarchy and bringing the People’s War to an end, there was little socio-economic progress for the vast majority. The argument advanced in this article is that this lack of progress relied on the interplay of two phenomena: an anti-Maoist alliance consisting of the international community, the domestic ruling elite and NGOs, and a fundamental ambiguity at the heart of the Maoists’ political theory.

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© The Author(s) 2017.


democratic revolution, imperialism, Nepal, NGOs, social change

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


28 August 2017Published Online
July 2018Published

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Date Deposited:

16 May 2023 14:11

Last Modified:

17 May 2023 05:43

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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