IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Subjectivity, Collective Action and the Governance Agenda in Arumeru East


  • Tim Kelsall


Under the Governance Agenda, NGOs in Africa are being viewed as vehicles for the promotion of a culture of democracy at the grassroots, a project which can equally be construed as an insidious attempt to create 'liberal selves'. This paper examines the social construction of selfhood in a particular District in Tanzania. It argues that selves are currently constructed in historically derived social relations spanning several different sites and having contradictory effects on the capacity for and character of collective action. Democracy functions imperfectly not because of an absence of a 'culture' of democracy, but because that culture is subject to conflicting cross-pulls. An NGO currently working in the area with its own vision of transforming selfhood is shown to be at best partially effective, in main because it fails to make a difference across the several sites in which subjectivity is constructed.

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Kelsall, "undated". "Subjectivity, Collective Action and the Governance Agenda in Arumeru East," QEH Working Papers qehwps42, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:qeh:qehwps:qehwps42

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:qeh:qehwps:qehwps42. 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: (IT Support). 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.