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Come cambia la cooperazione allo sviluppo. L’evoluzione della solidarietà internazionale nella società civile italiana, 1960-2020

Polito, Fiorenzo (2021): Come cambia la cooperazione allo sviluppo. L’evoluzione della solidarietà internazionale nella società civile italiana, 1960-2020.

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The set of Italian organisations and associations engaged in international development cooperation and humanitarian aid activities in Italy is characterised by an extreme complexity and variety. This work aims to trace a historical reconstruction of the Italian panorama of non-governmental organizations, otherwise known by the acronym of NGOs, from the 1960s up to 2020. In approaching the study of development cooperation in Italy, one cannot in fact ignore NGOs: they represent one of the most peculiar aspects of Italian international cooperation, that is, a "solidarity from below" that has its roots in Catholic and secular cultural dimensions. Only later did the government open spaces of operation by recognising on a legal level the personal commitment of citizens and their organisational forms - to then assume the direct management of interventions and of the same cooperation. This analysis, which is part of a broader doctoral research work that analyses the evolution of the organisational models adopted by NGOs in Italy, aims at responding to a double need: on the one hand, the need to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the archipelago international cooperation and solidarity organisations to understand their working methods, functioning mechanisms, as well as internal dynamics of change; on the other hand, the need to transmit the historical memory of women and men whose personal life is deeply intertwined with their professional one and who have devolved their work commitment to the many themes of international solidarity. These people have in fact seen the birth and growth of international solidarity initiatives of Italian civil society, accompanying the processes of development and transformation and thus accumulating a knowledge capital of considerable importance and scope, which however often does not find channels to be transmitted. What emerges from this narrative is a story of political, financial and organisational changes involving institutions and civil society. Sharing the spirit and the need to know, understand and know in order to orient oneself, this contribution represents a necessary prelude to a longer reflection that will help to systematise and articulate the evolution of international cooperation and solidarity organisations in Italy.

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