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On relations between the NGOs of the North and Mozambican civil society1

Josй Negrгo2

Posted with permission of the author.
This English version was translated (February 2004) from the original, Portuguese version.
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At the beginning of the nineteenth century, when Hegel referred to civil society as an institution placed between the family and the state's political relations, he allowed for an ambiguous reading on the nature and role of that institution. Would civil society be an intermediate institution, and as such have a role to fulfil? Or would it be more of an intermediary institution, comprising the totality of socioeconomic and productive relations, as interpreted by Marx?

Although appearing to be a matter of little importance - whether the institution is intermediate or intermediary - the fact remains that this question is present in the day-to-day relations between the civil societies of the South and the Non Governmental Organisations of the North; this is reflected also in the manner in which both deal with the challenges of globalization. Here we pose the question whether the NGOs of the South must participate in the same way as the NGOs of the North in the construction of an alternative [form of] globalization. Or should the civil societies from both halves of the planet interact in the negotiation between the people, the states and the markets on a global scale?

This paper seeks to address such questions as well as the need to reconstruct the concept of civil society on the basis of the Mozambican experience.

  1. Paper presented at the master's course "Alternative Globalization and Non Governmental Organisations in the Realm of Portuguese as Official Language". October 2003, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra, Portugal.
  2. Professor of Development Economics at the Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique.

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