Inclusive Development and Co‐operatives

Borda-Rodriguez, Alexander and Johnson, Hazel (2020). Inclusive Development and Co‐operatives. The European Journal of Development Research, 32 pp. 976–997.



This article considers the proposition made by many international organisations that co-operatives promote inclusive development. The article examines this proposition through an analysis of field data from two large co-operative unions and their wider contextual setting in Malawi. Positing that low-income and disadvantaged people are adversely included rather than excluded from development, the article analyses the potential of, and the challenges facing, co-operatives in improving conditions for their members. The analysis focusses on the dimensions of economic control, voice and agency, and shows that co-operatives can promote inclusion. However, co-oper- atives are inevitably influenced by the wider context in which they are constituted and are therefore part of an ongoing, and often contradictory, process of change. These dynamics need to be understood and addressed by members, co-operative leaders and policy-makers alike, as well as international organisations supporting co-operative development.

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