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The Global Civics of Poverty: Community, Participation, and Neoliberal Governance

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Abstract:

This paper considers how conceptions of poverty and local community have been refashioned within the framework of neoliberalism in order to analyze emergent formations of hegemony, consent, and contestation within the sphere of global governance. It focuses on how World Bank initiatives promoting popular participation and the development of social capital not only redeploy poverty and community as terms for remediation and management, but establish both as central to neoliberal modes of governance more broadly. In the new millennium, the rhetoric of poverty alleviation and the valorization of community participation within the international context are central to the terms of consent. Whereas historically neoliberalism in principal jettisoned the social and political in favor of some idealized economism, influential neoliberal institutions such as the World Bank have increasingly sought to reintegrate ostensibly non-economic factors into their policy agenda. For instance, the Bank explains its interest in social capital by noting that A growing body of evidence indicates the size and density of social networks and institutions, and the nature of interpersonal connections, significantly affect the efficiency and sustainability of development programs. My analysis centers on a series of World Bank reports which, over the course of the 1990s, linked strategies of good governance to local participation and civic engagement in development projects for poverty alleviation and which became institutionalized with the articulation of the Comprehensive Development Framework in 1999. Having in the mid-1980s identified a crisis in governance that Bank analysts believed obstructed the implementation of its neoliberal economic reforms, Bank policymakers gradually rediscovered civil society and the state. I draw evidence from World Bank publications including Governance and Development (1993), The World Bank and Participation (1994), World Development Reports The State in a Changing World (1997), Attacking Poverty (2000-01), and Building Institutions for Markets (2002). This paper argues that the manner in which World Bank programs incorporate non-economic factors actually narrow the horizon of social action, obscuring the social costs of the market system and appropriating the survival strategies of the poor as a support for the ongoing maintenance of the so-called free market. Nevertheless, it is precisely the voluble attention to poverty, set out in copious diagnostic and quantitative detail, with first-person testimonial anchoring time-worn humanistic truths in such World Bank publications as Voices of the Poor: Can Anyone Hear Us? (2000), that suggests the shifting logics of neoliberal governance. World Bank initiatives illustrate the dynamic reciprocities between global and local development that remake community in neoliberal form.
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Name: International Studies Association
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MLA Citation:

Goldstein, Alyosha. "The Global Civics of Poverty: Community, Participation, and Neoliberal Governance" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Mar 17, 2004 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p74371_index.html>

APA Citation:

Goldstein, A. , 2004-03-17 "The Global Civics of Poverty: Community, Participation, and Neoliberal Governance" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p74371_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: This paper considers how conceptions of poverty and local community have been refashioned within the framework of neoliberalism in order to analyze emergent formations of hegemony, consent, and contestation within the sphere of global governance. It focuses on how World Bank initiatives promoting popular participation and the development of social capital not only redeploy poverty and community as terms for remediation and management, but establish both as central to neoliberal modes of governance more broadly. In the new millennium, the rhetoric of poverty alleviation and the valorization of community participation within the international context are central to the terms of consent. Whereas historically neoliberalism in principal jettisoned the social and political in favor of some idealized economism, influential neoliberal institutions such as the World Bank have increasingly sought to reintegrate ostensibly non-economic factors into their policy agenda. For instance, the Bank explains its interest in social capital by noting that A growing body of evidence indicates the size and density of social networks and institutions, and the nature of interpersonal connections, significantly affect the efficiency and sustainability of development programs. My analysis centers on a series of World Bank reports which, over the course of the 1990s, linked strategies of good governance to local participation and civic engagement in development projects for poverty alleviation and which became institutionalized with the articulation of the Comprehensive Development Framework in 1999. Having in the mid-1980s identified a crisis in governance that Bank analysts believed obstructed the implementation of its neoliberal economic reforms, Bank policymakers gradually rediscovered civil society and the state. I draw evidence from World Bank publications including Governance and Development (1993), The World Bank and Participation (1994), World Development Reports The State in a Changing World (1997), Attacking Poverty (2000-01), and Building Institutions for Markets (2002). This paper argues that the manner in which World Bank programs incorporate non-economic factors actually narrow the horizon of social action, obscuring the social costs of the market system and appropriating the survival strategies of the poor as a support for the ongoing maintenance of the so-called free market. Nevertheless, it is precisely the voluble attention to poverty, set out in copious diagnostic and quantitative detail, with first-person testimonial anchoring time-worn humanistic truths in such World Bank publications as Voices of the Poor: Can Anyone Hear Us? (2000), that suggests the shifting logics of neoliberal governance. World Bank initiatives illustrate the dynamic reciprocities between global and local development that remake community in neoliberal form.

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