In the past two decades there has been a growing emphasis within the international development industry on promoting group activity. In this paper we chart how interpretation of the loose concept of social capital has shaped donor and NGO discourses on, and their preoccupation with, groups. Donors are using blueprints of group cooperation in an asocial and aspatial manner that ignores local specificities of place, space, and cultural context. An empirical case is examined [two transport-related programmes operating in southern Ghana] that demonstrates how donor discourse is reinterpreted, translated, and even rejected by players at different spatial scales. The reasons for the continued donor preoccupation with groups in the face of local resistances are explored.
G. Porter and F. Lyon. Groups as a means or an end? Social capital and the promotion of cooperation in Ghana. Environment and Planning D : Society and Space (2006) 24 (2) 249-262.