Embedded Systems: The Case of HIV/AIDS Nonprofit Organizations in New York City

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In this paper the notion of an embedded system is developed as an analytic model to examine how state–nonprofit relations develop and become differentiated, using the case of HIV/AIDS nonprofit organizations. Drawing on extensive fieldwork among three prominent HIV/AIDS nonprofit organizations in New York City, this paper shows how the kinds of relationships these nonprofit organizations are likely to form with state agencies are based on their embeddedness in the state–nonprofit system of relations. Three forms of embeddedness are distinguished according to the type and regularity of state–nonprofit contact—direct, outsider, and mediating. Importantly, it is shown how the configuration of relations within which an organization is embedded determines many of the organization's constraints and opportunities.

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