The starting point for this paper are some of the key texts relating to the question of promoting 'pro-poor' political participation and organisation, which were written or circulated within the British government's Department for International Development (DFID) in preparation for a retreat organised to discuss the issue in October 2002. I incorporate into this some of the concerns I believe we are addressing within the Crisis States Programme. In this paper I demonstrate how paying attention to politics challenges some of the assumptions within programmes pursued by donors involved in the promotion of 'good governance' and economic reform.
The argument is structured around four issues: (1) the question of 'participation'; (2) understanding 'civil society' and the state; (3) the role of what I think we can usefully call 'political society' and 'political parties'; and (4) governance and economic reforms that may undermine political organisation.
Putzel, J. Discussion Paper No.1. The Politics of ‘Participation’: Civil Society, the State and Development Assistance. (2004) 14 pp.