Reinventing the Third World State
Edited by Willy McCourt and Martin Minogue
Chapter 7: Reinventing the Third World state: service delivery and the civic realm
David Hulme INTRODUCTION Shifts in development theory and policy in the late 1970s and early 1980s favoured the ‘rolling back of the state’ and opened up a golden era for ideas about the role of civic organizations in development (Hulme and Edwards, 1997; White and Robinson, 1997 and 1998).1 In particular, the civic realm has undergone a vast expansion in terms of the numbers and scales of operation and finance of international and domestic non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and a renewed focus on the role of grass-roots organizations (GROs) in meeting the needs of people at the local level. Salamon (1993, p. 1) wrote of an ‘associational revolution’ sweeping the late twentieth-century world that might have profound impacts on the nature of society. More recently such grand claims have been scaled down with the ‘return of the state’ into development thinking (most clearly illustrated by the World Bank’s (1997) recognition that a minimal state is not the best prescription for economic growth or poverty reduction) and a growing awareness that there are limits to what civic organizations can contribute to development. Increasingly, talk is of the need for ‘partnerships’ and pluralist approaches to service provision. In this chapter we explore the implications of the contemporary context and the ‘return of the state’ for civic organizations - and particularly on NGOs and GROs - with a focus on the role that they can play to help improve the access that poorer and disadvantaged ‘publics’ have to basic social and economic services....
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