your paper must
•have an argument??”that is, you should take a position taken, posit an argument against it, and then adjudicate between the two.
•seriously engage at least two of the books/articles we have read in this class
•use a good number of quotes from at least of the works we have read in this course (I will upload a book list, instructor’s ppt and my notes?, and
you can write it as a dialogue, play, screenplay, or some other artistic format. If you do, you still have to follow the same principals. In other words, your paper must
•have a debate in it, with an argument pro and con, and then rebuttals
•make it very clear that you understand those two (or more) authors’ ideas
•use a good number of quotes from at least of the works we have read in this course

choose one of the following topics (5a and 5b consider as two topics)
1. Expanding the boundaries of “the political,” globally
The United Nations has been trying to get nations to sign onto a “Convention of the Rights of the Child” in the past two decades.
• If you were one of the leaders of a rather large NGO, would you work towards “the rights of the child,” as described in the link below, or not? Give at least two pro’s and con’s for using your organization’s time and money for these purposes.
• Describe a specific activity that your organization would consider doing, as an illustration of your pro’s and con’s of promoting the rights of the child, to show how your overall “pro’s and con’s” would play out, in relation to a real activity that your NGO would consider conducting.
In other words, the first part of the question asks for generalization; the second asks for you to illustrate your generalizations with a concrete example; you can do the two parts of the question in any order, or blend the concrete and the general together, as long as you do both).
To answer this question, refer to this document:
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm –this is a document for nations to ratify or not??”so far, all have except the US and Somalia??”but our questions are about what you would do about it as a leader of an NGO, not a nation.
http://www.unicef.org/crc/ for explanations of this legal document in plainer English

Caution: if you say that this document is just words, verbiage, palaver, then you have to ask yourself if some other declarations are more than “just words”??”our Constitution and Bill of Rights (http://www.usconstitution.net/const.html), for example. Thus, you will have to keep in mind the question of whether anything is a “right” (freedom from child abuse, as in question #2, e.g.? elementary education?)

2. Expanding the boundaries of the “political,” within the US
“In a four year period beginning in 1962, the legislatures of all fifty states passed statutes against the caretaker’s abuse of children.”
(the quote is from Stephen Pfohl, “The ‘Discovery’ of Child Abuse;” http://www.jstor.org/pss/800083; also Making an Issue of Child Abuse, by Barbara Nelson, as discussed in lecture)
Pose yourself the same questions sketched in Question 1, using only the issue of child abuse (as opposed to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which aims to summon the whole world to action).

3. Puzzles of civic action in NGO’s
Describe TWO TENSIONS that would you expect to find in a big NGO that has to aim for “transparency (open books, clear explanations of expenditures)” and also has to be a “civic” organization that uses grassroots community volunteers? Illustrate your argument with an hypothetical example, such as an NGO that cares for the elderly, disabled, young, or abused, or one that tries to improve the environment, educate people, provide clean water for a village, end a war, or open up a debate (feel free to talk about other examples, if they fit; the example does not have to be a real organization).
How, if at all, might you predict that the government funding could destroy what might be good about grassroots associations? How, on the other hand, might it improve on what might be bad about grassroots associations?
Some tensions include:
• helping the neediest versus promoting civic engagement;
• efficiency (getting the biggest bang for your buck) versus helping those who are hardest to help
• professionalism versus free use of volunteers
• professionalism versus political activism
Caution: you cannot say, “just leave it up to the local people to decide how we can help them.”
Suggestion that you can take if you want: Invoking “modes of justification” might help focus your argument.
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4. Volunteer-style solutions versus activist solutions to a problem
Compare a volunteer-style group’s ideas for addressing a problem with a political activist group’s ways of addressing a problem. You can use the example of the children with psychological problems who grew up in a violence filled neighborhood, or you can pick your own example. Feel free to use data, but it is not necessary.
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5. a)Empowerment projects??”what can they do?
In Making Volunteers Nina Eliasoph explores a new (and now ubiquitous) type of civic group: empowerment projects. Using specific examples from Eliasoph’s book, address the following questions:
• What are empowerment projects? Compare and contrast them to other approaches to social service, such as NGOs, and the welfare state.
• In what ways do empowerment projects attempt to resolve the tensions of civic associations discussed in both lecture and section?
• What tensions do they face/produce and why, according to Eliasoph?
• Finally, make an argument either in favor of empowerment projects (with or without government funding) or in favor of centralized, bureaucratic (welfare state) organizations. Which approach seems most promising for addressing social needs and why? Be sure your argument fully appreciates the complexities of either approach.
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5.b) “Astroturf” civic associations vs. cultivating the grassroots from the top down in an NGO
Toxic Sludge is Good for You shows how big money can create civic associations. Is this production process as democratic as the ones that Sampson describes in Albania or Eliasoph describes in Making Volunteers? Describe and analyze three ways that the following three types of civic associations’ democratic potential differ:
• money-powered civic associations such as those portrayed in Toxic Sludge
• partly government-funded NGO’s differ
• NGO’s that do not get any government funding
To answer this, you will find that you have to decide what democracy is??”one person, one vote? Something more character-building than that, as Tocqueville argued? One dollar??”one vote, as portrayed critically in Toxic Sludge? Something else?
Caution: if you use the concept of “free will,” you have to remember that Tocqueville says that people’s desires are strongly shaped by the society in which they live??”feelings are not produced in a vacuum.
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6. Equality and local, decentralized participation: if one goes up, does the other go down and vice versa?
(this is the same question that was on Essay/test #1, but with the added element of addressing the possibility that outsourcing might help fix the problem)
Tocqueville says that equality is necessary for democracy. He also says that local, decentralized grassroots decision-making is necessary for democracy.
• How, if at all, can both be possible? Can a society have BOTH the goods that come from participation AND the goods that come from central gov’t’s promise of being impartial, stable, professional and expert-driven, and not letting anyone fall out the bottom? How can it be the case that more government funding of nonprofits can generate more civic engagement, rather than squash it?
• Explain how the rise of “outsourcing” gov’t to local nonprofits is partly a response to these dual missions. How, if at all, does our current solution??”“outsourcing” the centralized government to nonprofits??”allow us to have our cake (have equality) and eat it, too (also have grassroots local participation)?

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7. The difference between a NGO’s distributing aid versus a government’s doing it
Using the Hometown Associations’ example, or another one that you find, consider the differences and similarities between small Tocquevillean associations, large NGO’s and governments. Discuss the following potential differences and similarities:
• A small association, such as a Hometown Association, requires transparency for local donors who all know each other.
• A big NGO’s promises “transparency” for donors who don’t all know each other.
• A government promises transparency for all voters, universally.
• All promise to give participants decision-making power, but the participants are very different sets of people.
• All promise to help the needy.
• None totally live up to their promises, but perhaps they could be made to live up to their promises more than they do.
Considering all this, where would you expect to find the most potential for the most transparency, participatory distribution of aid, and help for the needy??”from small, Tocquevillean associations that are based on face-to-face, personal relationships, large NGO’s, governments, or some combination, or something else?

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8. A theorist goes to Occupy Wall Street
Impersonate any of the authors whose work we have discussed in this class and offer advice to the Occupy Wall Street movement about either its decision-making process, its ideas, or both. What do you suppose activists would say in return? What would you say back?

There are faxes for this order.