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Paradoxes of participation: questioning participatory approaches to development

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  • Frances Cleaver

    (Development and Project Planning Centre, University of Bradford, UK)

Abstract

This article suggests that the concepts underlying participatory approaches to development should be subject to greater critical analysis. Drawing on research on water resource management in sub-Saharan Africa, and on social theory concerning the recursive relationship between agency and structure, it illustrates the need for a more complex understanding of issues of efficiency and empowerment in participatory approaches. Particularly, two key concepts are examined: ideas about the nature and role of institutions ; and models of individual action . The article concludes by identifying the questions such an analysis raises about the relationships between community, social capital and the state. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Frances Cleaver, 1999. "Paradoxes of participation: questioning participatory approaches to development," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 597-612.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:11:y:1999:i:4:p:597-612
    DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1328(199906)11:4<597::AID-JID610>3.0.CO;2-Q
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thompson, John, 1995. "Participatory approaches in government bureaucracies: Facilitating the process of institutional change," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(9), pages 1521-1554, September.
    2. Carmen Deere & Magdalena Leon, 1998. "Gender, land, and water: From reform to counter-reform in Latin America," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 15(4), pages 375-386, December.
    3. Richard R. Nelson, 1995. "Recent Evolutionary Theorizing about Economic Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 48-90, March.
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