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Grounding Rights

Populist and Peasant Conceptions of Entitlement in Rural Nicaragua

David Cooper

Since the Sandinistas returned to power in Nicaragua in 2007, ideas about rights have been central to the governing party’s populist project. The rights in question are understood to require the production of ‘organized’ citizens, integrated into mechanisms of popular governance. But for rural Sandinistas who participated in the revolutionary agrarian reform of the 1980s, rights are about land; and for some, realizing rights has required disentangling themselves from local organs of organized life, resulting in their exclusion from the government’s populist model of rights. The contending ideas about how to legitimately ground rights that result—and the effort of these excluded Sandinistas to make revolutionary ‘struggle’ the basis of entitlements—trouble a standard anthropological model that views abstract rights as subsequently particularized in practice.

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Narratives of Development

An Anthropological Investigation into Narratives as a Source of Enquiry in Development Planning

Taapsi Ramchandani

The Chaguanas Borough Corporation in Trinidad and Tobago is currently the fastest-growing borough where economic development is complemented by investment in residential, commercial and infrastructural programmes. In tandem with the local government, an intergovernmental organisation (IGO) sought to understand the sociohistorical context within which economic growth has taken place to inform the IGO’s development plans for the area. This article focuses on local narratives collected in 2013 as part of a historical case study that reveals a complex relationship of citizens to the state within the context of a post-colonial, multi-ethnic society. Using an interpretivist framework of narratives as language, metaphor and knowledge, I examine how narratives reflect the lived experience of economic development as a confluence of history, ethnic identity and neoliberal ideas of entrepreneurship. Their inclusion as a source of enquiry in development planning will ensure that exogenous intervention remains holistic, equitable and informed by historical institutions of social practice.

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Les rapports ambigus entre politiques et citoyens

le cas du réaménagement du Quartier des Halles à Paris

Pierre Diméglio and Jodelle Zetlaoui-Léger

While Mayor Bertrand Delanoë had omitted the renovation of Les Halles in hisplans for the city in his 2001 inaugural address, in 2002, at the urging of theRATP and Espace Expansion, he decided to create a working group to undertakethis project during his tenure. Having made citizen participation a newgoal for local government, he also announced that the project would beundertaken with Parisians, especially local associations. The first part of thisarticle emphasizes the different postures that elected politicians, engineers,and experts have adopted over the course of forty years vis-à-vis the questionof citizen participation in urban planning. The second part explores the decision-making process for the Les Halles renovation over the last four years; itconsiders the issues and difficulties linked to the implementation of participatoryplans incorporating residents--whether they are members of localgroups or not--in complex urban planning projects.

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How “Poland Entered Europe”

The Motorway as a Space of Neoliberalism

Waldemar Kuligowski

The article surveys a giant infrastructural construction project in Poland: the A2 motorway, connecting Poznan´ and Warsaw with the Polish-German border. It was the first private motorway in Poland, and the biggest European infrastructural project, and was realized in a public-private partnership system. The last section of A2 was opened on 1 December 2011, which can be seen as a key moment in Polish socioeconomic transformation. I examine it on two levels: (1) a discourse between government and private investors in which the motorway was the medium of economic and social development and infrastructural “the end” modernization of Poland; (2) practices and opinions of local communities, living along the new motorway. On the first level, the construction of A2 was seen as an impetus for the economic and social development of the regions where the motorway was built. But on the second level, I observe almost universal disappointment and a deep crisis experienced by local economies.

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Disaggregating the electoral roll

Electioneering and the politics of self knowledge

Alexander Thomas T. Smith

Following their ‘wipe-out’ at the 1997 General Election, Scottish Conservatives worked from the assumption that they had endured their own ‘crisis’ in representation. The material consequences of this ‘crisis’ entailed losses of !nancial and other resources, knowledge and political legitimacy. This article describes how some Conservative activists addressed this ‘crisis’ in the period leading to the 2003 local Government and Scottish Parliament elections. Their efforts to render the secret ballot transparent in order to discern the voting intentions of potential supporters both demonstrated and re!ected their efforts to manage this crisis. Despite legal constraints, they constructed an imaginary of thousands of local voters’ preferences through a variety of discursive instruments, which allowed Party activists to disaggregate the electoral roll in order to apprehend a new whole – the Conservative electoral base. This, in turn, enabled a Conservative politics of self-knowledge, as a form of empowerment for these activists.

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Daniel M. Knight

The Greek economic crisis resonates across Europe as synonymous with corruption, poor government, austerity, financial bailouts, civil unrest, and social turmoil. The search for accountability on the local level is entangled with competing rhetorics of persuasion, fear, and complex historical consciousness. Internationally, the Greek crisis is employed as a trope to call for collective mobilization and political change. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Trikala, central Greece, this article outlines how accountability for the Greek economic crisis is understood in local and international arenas. Trikala can be considered a microcosm for the study of the pan-European economic turmoil as the “Greek crisis“ is heralded as a warning on national stages throughout the continent.

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Veronica Strang

Environmental management in Australia has recently shifted away from local rural communities into the hands of largely urban environmental and government agencies, sparking an intensifying contest for the control of land and resources between geographically and socially stable communities and more mobile translocal groups. There are major disjunctions between the conceptual models promulgated in this contest. Highly specific, holistic, and integrative cultural paradigms of human-environmental interaction vie with an increasingly dominant technomanagerial environmental model emerging from global discourses and knowledge practices. Categorizing "Nature" as a separate, nonhuman domain, this more cosmopolitan approach fails, intellectually and practically, to integrate social and cultural issues into environmental management. Nevertheless, its proponents are provided with increasing authority by their relationships with wider agencies of governance. Building on long-term ethnographic research in Far North Queensland, this paper explores how local and cosmopolitan environmentalisms are contested in a particular ethnographic context.

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Antipodean Audits

Neoliberalism, Illiberal Governments and Australian Universities

Margaret Jolly

This article explores neoliberalism in Australian universities, in the context of the politics of a higher education 'reform package' introduced by the Liberal-National Party Coalition presently in power in federal government. I focus attention on the relationship between the broader national environment and the local university configuration at the Australian National University and the dialectic between university academics and students as objects of bureaucratic practices and self-auditing subjects in these new modalities of power. I situate the Australian experience in broader global debates about neoliberalism and universities and earlier ethnographies of audit cultures.

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Lain Dare

Alternative forms of political participation that place little emphasis on traditional representative forms of democracy are becoming more prevalent. Typifying the shift from government to governance, forest certification provides important opportunities for political participation with local, national, and global influence. Using Pippa Norris's three dimensions of political participation—agencies, repertoires, and targets—this article explores political participation within the practice of forest certification. The article highlights how traditional and alternative forms of political participation do not act as a dualism and instead occur simultaneously in practice due to historical, spatial, and practical influences.

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Jewish Museums

From Jewish Icons to Jewish Narratives

David Clark

The first Jewish museums were established in the late nineteenth century. By then, museums were coming into vogue all over Europe, with encouragement from central and local government. Furthermore, while private collections of objects of art had existed for centuries, these collections were now entering the public domain. And, for the first time, this trend also applied to the collection of Jewish ritual objects. As Cohen (1998) notes, art patronage in the form of donations to public museums was a way of displaying patriotism while at the same time seeking legitimacy in society.