chapter  5
Civil Society, Participatory Poverty Reduction and Neoliberal Hegemony
Pages 24

This chapter explores how participatory poverty reduction through civil society involvement has excluded certain social groups from participating in the decision making process. It traces the evolution of civil society and how this concept has been employed by various actors and in relation to the recent aid policies. The chapter provides a genealogy of the concept from the various theoretical perspectives as the basis for the subsequent analysis of the application of the concept in an era of neoliberal globalization as well as in relation to the new architecture of aid. In short, the education function of civil society ensures the hegemony of the elite and the legitimacy and stability of the status quo by persuading the masses to accept the political values and discourses of elite groups. In postcolonial Africa the premium on power is exceptionally high, and the institutional mechanisms for moderating political competition are lacking.