Self-organization and Participation in Public Governance
Edited by Jurian Edelenbos and Ingmar van Meerkerk
Chapter 8: Making good citizens: power and empowerment in community development programmes in Nepal
Søndergård Madsen and Triantafillou stress the importance of how power and empowerment take shape in interactive governance. In Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world, a number of empowerment programmes and self-help community groups have sprung up during the past decade. Søndergård Madsen and Triantafillou examine how and with what political effects empowerment was linked to poverty alleviation in Nepal through the Local Governance and Community Development Programme (LGCDP). They argue that the alleviation of poverty was not an immediate, but rather a long-term, objective of the programme. Building on Foucault’s analytics of power and freedom, they critically reflect on the political implications of empowerment-based poverty alleviation for the strategies that the poor can legitimately adopt in order to improve their economic situation. The authors argue that the program is based on a strong advanced liberal rationale, which favours certain forms of participation and citizenship over other forms thus limiting the individual’s freedom by excluding various practices of action and protest.
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