chapter  11
26 Pages

Grassroots Development

In Chapters 9 and 10 we have looked at the contrasting plans for state-and marketled development, approaches that have dominated mainstream academic and policy debates about development for much of the postwar era. Because state-led strategies are often associated with left-wing political projects, and calls to free the market with the political right, it can sometimes seem that arguments for ‘more state’ or ‘more market’ exhaust the full range of development options in both academic and practical terms. This chapter, however, looks at a third important source of development ideas, that of autonomous development, or development in which communities, civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are key actors alongside (or in place of) states and markets. Although they have managed to become part of the ‘mainstream’ in recent decades, these ideas have deep historical roots, and raise important questions not only of how development can be achieved, but of what development actually is, and who gets to defi ne it.