The dominant theoretical paradigms of planned intervention in the 1960s and 1970s espoused a rather mechanical model of the relationship between policy, implementation and outcomes. A tendency in many studies (which still lingers on in certain policy discourses) was to conceptualise the process as essentially linear in nature, implying some kind of stepby-step progression from policy formulation to implementation to outcomes, after which one could make an ex post facto evaluation to establish how far the original objectives had been achieved. Yet, as any experienced planner or development worker will readily appreciate, this separation of ‘policy’, ‘implementation’ and ‘outcomes’ is a gross over-simplification of a much more complicated set of processes which involves the reinterpretation or transformation of policy during the implementation process itself, such that there is in fact no straight line from policy to outcomes. Also, outcomes may result from factors not directly linked to the implementation of a particular development programme. Moreover, issues of policy implementation should not be restricted to the case of top-down, planned interventions by governments, development agencies and private institutions, since local groups actively formulate and pursue their own ‘development projects’ that often clash with the interests of central authority (Long 1984b: 177-9, van der Ploeg 1987).