Between Citizenship and Clientship: The Politics of participatory governance in Malawi.
Gaynor, Niamh (2010) Between Citizenship and Clientship: The Politics of participatory governance in Malawi. Journal of Southern African Studies, 36 (4). pp. 801-816. ISSN 0305-7070
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In the twenty years since the post-Cold War wave of democratisation spread across Africa, experiments in participatory governance have revealed fundamental contradictions between their normative bases and their practical application on the ground. Responding to calls for a greater focus on ‘the politics of everyday life’ including the actions of local actors in the context of less-westernised aspects of indigenous political culture, and drawing on the experiences and actions, over a six year period, of the principal civic network involved initially in Malawi’s PRS process, this paper illustrates how contemporary Malawian politics at local level comprises a complex mix of the old and the new. Charting the evolving agency and activities of network members at district level, the paper demonstrates how, in the ongoing struggles for resources for everyday life, normative discourses of participation and representation are combined with more traditional cultures and practices in shaping, moulding and ultimately, it is proposed, invigorating contemporary political agency in Malawi.
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