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Community Participation the Tanzanian Way: Conceptual Contiguity or Power Struggle?


  • Rebecca Marsland


In Tanzania, at least two contradictory meanings of participation are circulating amongst development workers. One, concerning “empowerment” and the facilitation of local decision-making, is associated with international development discourse; the other, concerning the obligation of Tanzanian citizens to contribute to the development of the nation, can be traced back to the philosophy of Julius Nyerere. This article explores these meanings through an ethnographic study of a community malaria control project in the south-west of Tanzania. The practices of Tanzanian and expatriate development workers are distanced enough for these disparate versions of participation to run together without difficulty; but, when the two versions were brought together, tensions between community and local politics resulted, as there was competition to gain control and take the credit for the commodities associated with development. Nevertheless, this fissure did not prevent the project volunteers from taking on the locally prevailing discourse of development experts, which disparages local knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca Marsland, 2006. "Community Participation the Tanzanian Way: Conceptual Contiguity or Power Struggle?," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(1), pages 65-79.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oxdevs:v:34:y:2006:i:1:p:65-79
    DOI: 10.1080/13600810500496053

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    Cited by:

    1. Swidler, Ann & Watkins, Susan Cotts, 2009. ""Teach a Man to Fish": The Sustainability Doctrine and Its Social Consequences," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 1182-1196, July.
    2. Childs, John, 2014. "A new means of governing artisanal and small-scale mining? Fairtrade gold and development in Tanzania," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 128-136.
    3. repec:pal:eurjdr:v:29:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1057_ejdr.2016.8 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Beck, Erin, 2016. "Repopulating Development: An Agent-Based Approach to Studying Development Interventions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 19-32.

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