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The production of infrastructure in partnership with communities: does participation make owners?

Auramaa, P.I.; (2010) The production of infrastructure in partnership with communities: does participation make owners? Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The thesis analyses power relations between local government, CSOs and communities in partnerships for service production. It studies community members’ agency in a temporal dimension and identifies those structures that constrain their interaction. It focuses on community members’ own interpretations of the impact of those structures with the intention of informing development practice on how potential changes in partnership relationships can influence sustainability, expressed through community members’ sense of ownership. The thesis surveys analytical factors influencing partnership dynamics applying a conceptual model. The model helps to understand the interface between partners as well as the character and transformation of the interventions over time. Second, it studies individual community members’ agency: their capacity to exercise power through participation and the manner in which marginalizing structures prevailing in the community enable and constrain residents’ agency. The consequent implications of the transformation of their agency on the outcome are analysed by employing the theory ‘dialectic of control’ from Anthony Giddens’ ‘Structuration Theory’ and tested by field research carried out in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The research was grounded on qualitative methodology. The empirical research revealed that partnerships were successful in improving living conditions. However, accountability and power relations tended to transform and social, political and financial constraints circumscribed community members’ agency. Their narratives provided evidence that confining their agency during implementation reduces their social distance to the outcome perceived as a sense of ownership, even though they had fully participated during planning. Partnership itself was governed by the conflicting underpinnings of neo-liberal costsharing and neo-populist participation. In addition, the field research suggested that community members disassociated themselves from CBOs, questioning the assumed geographically-based definition of communities, CBO’s legitimacy and imposed representative role that they saw as part of an external hegemonic structure. This led to the division of communities and reduction of social capital.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The production of infrastructure in partnership with communities: does participation make owners?
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit

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