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Hegemony, transformism and anti-politics: community-driven development programmes at the World Bank

Poncin, Emmanuelle (2012) Hegemony, transformism and anti-politics: community-driven development programmes at the World Bank. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis scrutinises the emergence, expansion, operations and effects of community-driven development (CDD) programmes, referring to the most popular and ambitious form of local, participatory development promoted by the World Bank. On the one hand, this thesis draws on the writings of Antonio Gramsci to explore new ways of contextualising and understanding CDD programmes along the lines of hegemony and transformism, as promoting social stability and demobilising counter-hegemonic challenges under conditions of democratisation and decentralisation, in support of economic liberalisation. On the other hand, it scrutinises the performative operations of CDD discourse in producing, legitimising and reproducing interventions, along the lines of "anti-politics," inspired by the Foucauldian approaches of James Ferguson and Tania Li. It also examines the performances elicited by CDD discourse, which "hails" politicians as "progressive" leaders, and "interpellates" the population as an "empowered" and "civil" society. Focusing on "Kalahi," the "flagship" CDD programme of the World Bank in the Philippines, in the "showcase" Province of Bohol, this research also reveals that CDD interventions, ostensibly designed to promote popular participation in local governance, have in practice worked to shore up the position of entrenched local machine politicians, and to undermine local peasant and fishermen's organisations mobilised to demand implementation of agrarian reform and legislation restricting large-scale fishing. Kalahi, the thesis further shows, was from the outset also intertwined with the expansion of agro-business and tourism ventures in the province, and with counterinsurgency operations. In parallel, Kalahi discourse has promoted new discursive styles of leadership, which have enabled local politicians to enhance their political clout and to reinforce their popular support base, whilst practices and institutions have remained essentially unchanged. Overall, this thesis thus shows that CDD programmes have worked to shore up hegemony in rural localities throughout the Philippines, and elsewhere across the developing world.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 Emmanuelle Poncin
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Sidel, John T.

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