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Politics and International Relations (PIR): News


Edinburgh Politics PhD candidate wins inaugural BISA African Affairs Postgraduate Paper Prize

Kathy Dodworths paper entitled NGO legitimation as practice: the politics of voluntarism in Tanzania has been awarded the first BISA African Affairs Prize at the BISA annual conference.

The judges commended Dodworth’s paper for  engaging with a contemporary debate in IR about public authority and legitimation, while simultaneously illustrating this through rich and detailed fieldwork. It is an intriguing and highly interesting paper, that engages both with recent theoretical debates about public authority and with extensive empirical fieldwork.  Its main aim is to show how NGOs in Tanzania use various practices and discourses of voluntarism to construct public authority, thus illustrating the continuity between state and civil society, the public and the private.  Overall, the paper succeeds in bringing out the ambiguities and complexities in these practices of legitimation, and the result is an interesting portrayal of the competition between NGOs and some of the effects on the local volunteers and communities.

The prize is sponsored by the BISA Africa and International Studies Working Group and the journal African Affairs. Winners receive £150 cash and are encouraged to submit their prize winning paper to African Affairs.