The past two decades have seen an enormous increase in academic and policy attention to, and engagement with, governance at the sub-national and local levels. Yet, our understanding of the conditions that enable local governments to deliver services to citizens, reduce poverty, be inclusive and responsive, bridge cleavages in divided post-conflict societies or represent citizen interests to higher levels of authority remains limited.
Drawing on different perspectives, this IDS Bulletin takes a fresh look at how local governance ‘really’ works and how it could become more accountable, effective and legitimate to support development that favours poor and marginalised people. Extending the boundaries of prevailing debates on methodological and conceptual issues, civil society, political and power relationships, and the challenges of decentralisation in (post)-conflict settings, the authors offer an outlook on taking forward the work on localising governance and designing policies that help improve its performance.
Rather than a set of contributions that speak to one overarching question, this IDS Bulletin represents a panoply of different perspectives on ‘the local’. Articles chart out several promising avenues for taking forward the work on localising governance and designing policies that help improve its performance. While these are not the only avenues that deserve attention, they do point to several issues that require deeper thought on the part of both scholars and policymakers. There is certainly a need for more multi- and inter-disciplinary research on the complexities involved in making local governance in poor and/or conflict-affected countries more responsive, inclusive and effective.
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Table of contents
Preface Harald Schenker and Corinne Huser
Introduction – Localising Governance: An Outlook on Research and Policy Anuradha Joshi and Markus Schultze-Kraft
Power Above and Below the Waterline: Bridging Political Economy and Power Analysis Jethro Pettit and Andrés Mejía Acosta
Reading the Local Context: A Causal Chain Approach to Social Accountability Anuradha Joshi
Power, Violence, Citizenship and Agency Rosemary McGee
Beyond Ballotocracy: Citizens’ Voices and the Many Faces of Unruly Politics Mariz Tadros
Distributing the Wealth from the Earth Javier Arellano Yanguas and Andrés Mejía Acosta
Devolving the Power to Divide: Sectarian Relations in Egypt (2011–12) Mariz Tadros
Connecting Citizens to the State: Informal Local Governance Institutions in the Western Balkans Shandana Khan Mohmand and Snezana Misic Mihajlovic
Decentralisation and Accountability in War-to-Peace Transitions: The Case of Kosovo Markus Schultze-Kraft and Engjellushe Morina