IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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


  • Fox, Jonathan A


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Fox, Jonathan A, 1992. "Democratic Rural Development: Leadership Accountability in Regional Peasant Organizations, Development and Change," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt8tb0q3nr, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:glinre:qt8tb0q3nr

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:;origin=repeccitec
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Odile Hoffmann & Emilia Velasquez, 1997. "Les organisations paysannes des années 90 au Mexique : le difficile cheminement entre concertation et récupération," Revue Tiers Monde, Programme National Persée, vol. 38(150), pages 409-425.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Meyer, Carrie A., 1997. "The political economy of NGOs and information sharing," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 25(7), pages 1127-1140, July.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cdl:glinre:qt8tb0q3nr. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lisa Schiff). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.