The Open UniversitySkip to content

Participatory development and empowerment: the dangers of localism

Mohan, Giles and Stokke, Kristian (2000). Participatory development and empowerment: the dangers of localism. Third World Quarterly, 21(2) pp. 247–268.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Recent discussions in development have moved away from holistic theorisation towards more localised, empirical and inductive approaches. In development practice there has been a parallel move towards local 'participation' and 'empowerment', which has produced, albeit with very different agendas, a high level of agreement between actors and institutions of the 'new' Left and the 'new' Right. This paper examines the manifestations of this move in four key political arenas: decentralised service delivery, participatory development, social capital formation and local development, and collective actions for 'radical democracy'. We argue that, by focusing so heavily on 'the local', the see manifestations tend to underplay both local inequalities and power relations as well as national and transnational economic and political forces. Following from this, we advocate a stronger emphasis on the politics of the local, ie on the political use of 'the local' by hegemonic and counter-hegemonic interests.

Item Type: Journal Item
ISSN: 1360-2241
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Politics, Philosophy, Economics, Development, Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 10955
Depositing User: Users 4181 not found.
Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2008 18:20
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 11:10
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU