Participation : The New Tyranny?

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This book is about participatory development's potential for tyranny, showing how it can lead to the unjust and illegitimate exercise of power. It is the first book-length treatment to address the gulf between the almost universally fashionable rhetoric of participation, which promises empowerment and appropriate development on the one hand, and what actually happens when consultants and activists promote and practise participatory development, on the other.

The contributors, all social scientists and development specialists, come from various disciplines and a wide variety of hands on experience. Their aim is to provide a sharp contrast to the seductive claims of participation, and to warn its advocates of the pitfalls and limitations of participatory development. The book also challenges participatory practitioners and theorists to reassess their own role in promoting a set of practices which are at best naive about questions of power, and at worst serve systematically to reinforce, rather than overthrow, existing inequalities.

For the recipients of participatory development this book provides critical insights into the history, institutions, and day-to-day activities through which participation is 'done to' them. It provides them with a range of arguments which support the legitimate decision not to participate on others' terms.

This rigorous and provocative understanding of participatory development is one which donors, academics and practitioners will find hard to ignore.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 152.4 x 210.82 x 15.24mm | 272.15g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 4th ed.
  • 1856497941
  • 9781856497947
  • 220,468

About Bill Cooke

Uma Kothari is a development consultant, trained originally as a geographer, and now teaching at the Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester. She has conducted research in various parts of the world, including India, Central America and parts of West Africa.She is currently co-director of a DfID-funded project, Social Development: Systems for Coordinated Poverty Eradication. She has contributed chapters to various books in recent years.

Bill Cooke lectures in Human Resources Development at the Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester. He specialises in various aspects of management, having begun his career as a management consultant in the public sector in Britain. He subsequently set up his own consultancy business, and became a business school academic in 1992.
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Review quote

'A timely critique of the participation discourse and expose of the seductive arts of official incorporation. Essential reading for all those studying and practising international development as well as social policy nearer home.'
Geoff Wood, University of Bath

'Unmasks the moral tyranny imposed through the language of participation which has come to dominate the discourse of 'devspeak'. In exploring participatory practices from several points of view - social psychology, sociology of management, Goffman's analysis of social performance, Foucauldian analysis of discourses and their power - it shows how radical and democratic language may be co-opted with the aim of bringing people's views and expectations into line with the plans devised, with their participation, by their betters. Makes a vital contribution to the sociology of development.'
Gavin Williams, University of Oxford
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Table of contents

1. The Case for Participation as Tyranny - Bill Cooke and Uma Kothari
2. 'People's Knowledge', Participation and Patronage: Operations and Representations in Rural Development - David Mosse
3. Institutions, Agency and the Limitations of Participatory Approaches to Development - Frances Cleaver
4. Pluralism, Participation and Power: Joint Forest Management in India - Nicholas Hildyard, Pandurang Hegde, Paul Wolvekamp, Somasekhare Reddy
5. Participatory Development at the World Bank: The Primacy of Process - Paul Francis
6. Beyond the Formulaic: Process and Practice in South Asian NGOs - John Hailey
7. The Social-Psychological Limits of Participation? - Bill Cooke
8. Insights into Participation from Critical Management and Labour Process Perspectives - Harry Taylor
9. Participatory Development: Power, Knowledge and Social Control - Uma Kothari
10. Beyond Participation: Strategies for Deeper Empowerment - Giles Mohan
11. Participation as Spiritual Duty: Empowerment as Secular Subjection - Heiko Henkel and Roderick Stirrat
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Rating details

21 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 24% (5)
4 33% (7)
3 38% (8)
2 5% (1)
1 0% (0)
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