Mohan, G., and K. Stokke. "Participatory Development and Empowerment: The Dangers of Localization." Third World Quarterly 21, no. 2 (2000): 247–68.
ABSTRACT 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 'partici-
pation' 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 devel-
opment, 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.