Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jonathan P. Doh
Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) constitute an important and influential set of actors within the broad context of law and society. NGOs have emerged as critical organizations in shaping governmental policy and practice, influencing legal and institutional structures, and affecting corporate and business activities. NGOs have grown in number, power, and influence since the 1980s. Their force affects a range of major public policy debates, and NGO activism has been responsible for major changes in public policy, law, and regulation and reform of corporate behavior and governance. Civil society, also referred to as the third sector or the nonprofit sector, is used to broadly describe all aspects of society that extend beyond the realm of the public sector and the private sector. Although the term NGO is relatively recent, associations among like-minded individuals have been part of ancient and modern history. When Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859) first visited the United States in ...