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Manufacturing Civil Society and the Limits of Legitimacy: Aid, Security and Civil Society after 9/11 in Afghanistan


  • Jude Howell

    (LSE, London)

  • Jeremy Lind

    (LSE, London)


This article traces the effects of the increasing securitisation of aid and development in Afghanistan after 9/11 on aid policy and civil society. It argues that although aid has not been wholly subordinated to security objectives, security interests have been sufficient to shape the objectives, policies and practices of aid policy in Afghanistan in significant ways. Furthermore, it is argued that the securitisation of aid has not only nurtured a ‘rentier’ civil society, comprised of an assortment of donor-funded NGOs, but also promoted a particular model of state–civil relations that prioritises service delivery over the deliberative role of civil society. The article begins by outlining the key changes in aid policy in Afghanistan since 2001. It then explores the effects on existing civil society of external donors’ attempts to manufacture a liberal civil society. Finally, the article examines the short-term impact of security policies and objectives on civil society in Afghanistan.Cet article s’intéresse aux effets de la « sécuritisation » de l’aide et du développement en Afghanistan sur la politique d’aide et la société civile, suite aux évènements du 11 septembre 2001. Bien que l’aide au développement n’ait pas été entièrement subordonnée à des objectifs sécuritaires, l’auteur défend l’idée que ces derniers ont été suffisamment importants pour influencer de manière significative les objectifs, les politiques et les pratiques de l’aide en Afghanistan. En particulier, il est soutenu que la « sécuritisation » de l’aide a non seulement entretenu une société civile rentière, composée d’ONG financées par les agences d’aide au développement externes, mais a aussi promu un certain modèle de relations entre l’Etat et la société civile qui tend à privilégier la fourniture de services par cette dernière au détriment de son rôle consultatif plus traditionnel. L’article commence par exposer les principaux changements dans la politique de l’aide au développement en Afghanistan depuis 2001. Il s’intéresse ensuite aux effets des tentatives des agences d’aide internationales de promouvoir un modèle de société civile libéral. Enfin, pour terminer, l’article se penche sur les impacts des objectifs et politiques sécuritaires sur la société civile afghane à court terme.

Suggested Citation

  • Jude Howell & Jeremy Lind, 2009. "Manufacturing Civil Society and the Limits of Legitimacy: Aid, Security and Civil Society after 9/11 in Afghanistan," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 21(5), pages 718-736, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:21:y:2009:i:5:p:718-736

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    1. repec:gam:jlawss:v:5:y:2016:i:2:p:21:d:69841 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Stephen Meyers, 2016. "NGO-Ization and Human Rights Law: The CRPD’s Civil Society Mandate," Laws, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(2), pages 1-14, May.

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