Henry, Leroi; Mohan, Giles and Yanacopulos, Helen
Networks as transnational agents of development.
Third World Quarterly, 25(5) pp. 839–855.
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The term network has become a hallmark of the development industry. In principle networks have the potential to provide a more flexible and non-hierarchical means of exchange and interaction that is also more innovative, responsive and dynamic whilst overcoming spatial separation and providing scale economies. Although the label networks currently pervades discourses about the relationships between organisations in development, there has been surprisingly little research or theorisation of them. This article is a critical evaluation of the claims of developmental networks from a theoretical perspective. While networks are regarded as a counter hegemonic force we argue that networks are not static entities but must be seen as an ongoing and emergent process. Moreover theory overlooks power relationships within networks and is unable to conceptualise the relationship between power and values. These observations open up a research agenda that the authors are exploring empirically in forthcoming publications.
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