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Democratic Rural Development: Leadership Accountability in Regional Peasant Organizations, Development and Change


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  • Fox, Jonathan A
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    Many development analysts assert the importance of democratic social organizations, but few either document or analyse the actual processes of internal democracy. this study examines part of the broader problem of internal democracy. This study examines part of the broader problem of the 'Iron Law of Oligarchy' – the ebbs and flows of leadership accountability over time. Drawing on the history of a Mexican regional peasant organization since 1974, the analysis suggests that different kinds of organizational structures encourage or discourage membership action, but moments of mass direct action in turn shape the ways in which organizational structures actually distribute power. The case analysis shows how the interaction of internal and external factors shaped the balance of power between leader and members at each critical turning point. Participatory subgroups turn out to be the crucial counterweight to concentrated leadership power, mediating relations with the membership and providing alternative sources of leadership. Whether formal or informal, multiple vertical channels and alternative horizontal linkages between membership groups are crucial complements, and sometimes substitutes, to conventional organizational structures.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz in its series Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series with number qt8tb0q3nr.

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    Date of creation: 01 Apr 1992
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    Handle: RePEc:cdl:glinre:qt8tb0q3nr

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    Keywords: Environment and Development; Social Movements;


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    Cited by:
    1. Edwards, Michael & Hulme, David, 1996. "Too close for comfort? the impact of official aid on nongovernmental organizations," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 961-973, June.
    2. Meyer, Carrie A., 1997. "The political economy of NGOs and information sharing," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(7), pages 1127-1140, July.
    3. Das Gupta, Monica & Grandvoinnet, Helene & Romani, Mattia, 2000. "State-community synergies in development : laying the basis for collective action," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2439, The World Bank.
    4. Roberts, Susan M. & Jones III, John Paul & Frohling, Oliver, 2005. "NGOs and the globalization of managerialism: A research framework," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 1845-1864, November.


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