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Paradoxes of participation: Questioning participatory approaches to development

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/06/1999
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of International Development
Issue number4
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)597-612
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article suggests that the concepts underlying participatory approaches to development should be subject to greater critical analysis. Drawing on research on water resource management in sub-Saharan Africa, and on social theory concerning the recursive relationship between agency and structure, it illustrates the need for a more complex understanding of issues of efficiency and empowerment in participatory approaches. Particularly, two key concepts are examined: ideas about the nature and role of institutions; and models of individual action. The article concludes by identifying the questions such an analysis raises about the relationships between community, social capital and the state.