International Development, Community, and Environment

Title

Structural Change, Power Politics, and Community Organizations in Africa: Challenging the Patterns, Puzzles and Paradoxes

Document Type

Article

Abstract

This paper explores two phenomena shaping processes of local institutional and organizational change in rural Africa. The first is the complexity of institutional layering and dissonance in which local organizations and institutions in rural Africa coexist. The second is the paradox often found in state local relations in Africa. Central governments encourage local communities to take on responsibilities which the center cannot manage. Should significant organizational strength emerge at the local level, however, central powers often move expeditiously to destroy it. Illustrative material comes primarily from Kenya and Zimbabwe and selectively from several other countries. We ask what new structures are emerging and what old ones are being adapted to new functions. We argue that local organizations are critical for addressing ecological decline and restoring the productivity and sustainability of rural Africa. Both localities and national governments have much to gain if the capacities of local organizations can become, themselves, a valued resource in the resource-scarce setting comprising much of rural Africa. © 1994.

Publication Title

World Development

Publication Date

1-1-1994

Volume

22

Issue

10

First Page

1479

Last Page

1490

ISSN

0305-750X

DOI

10.1016/0305-750X(94)90032-9

Keywords

organizational change, community organization, Africa

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