The National Museum of Ethnology (Minpaku) is a research center for ethnology and cultural anthropology.

An Anthropological Study of NGO Activities: A New Perspective on Social Relationships in the Age of Global Assistance

Joint Research Coordinator NOBUTA Toshihiro

Reserch Theme List


Global assistance has now reached global proportions. The scope of NGO activities now encompasses all those once peripheral places whose study anthropologists took as their field. Through participation in NGO volunteer and assistance activities, people once studied by anthropologists now form relationships that transcend the traditional boundaries of ethnicity and place. People who participate in NGO activities now find themselves enmeshed in global social networks. At the same time, anthropologists doing fieldwork frequently now encounter individuals who participate in local or global NGO activities, in which the anthropologists themselves may be deeply involved, even sometimes as agents providing assistance. In light of this situation, in which NGOs and anthropologists come into increasingly close contact, this research project aims to use the micro perspective of anthropology to illuminate the new kinds of relationships formed by participation in NGO activities and their relation to the mechanisms of global assistance. Another major objective is to explore the role of NGO and other civil society actors in reshaping the national and global order in an era of “grassroots globalization” made possible by direct contact across national boundaries using new electronic media.