Disjunctures, Divides, and Disconnects: The Promise of Local Government in Development

Patricia McCarney

This paper begins by positioning the changing nature of local government within a global perspective. Here the reform process and the forces impacting the local level are tracked so as to situate local governments in a more global change perspective. Then, three critical disjunctures are profiled which are identified in the development field generally and which confront the local policy community more specifically. It is argued that the local level of government, often neglected in development discourse, is strategically positioned as a pivotal actor to mediate these disjunctures which include: the contested poles between global competitiveness and local needs; the divide between formal state structures and civil society; and, the disconnect in policy deemed to be "local economic development" which is in fact insulated from the actual workings of the local and household economy of the majority low-income residents.

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