Edited by: Anuradha Joshi and Markus Schultze-Kraft
Volume 45Number 5
The past two decades have seen an enormous increase in academic and policy attention to, and engagement with, governance at the sub-national and local levels. Yet, our understanding of the conditions that enable local governments to deliver services to citizens, reduce poverty, be inclusive and responsive, bridge cleavages in divided post-conflict societies or represent citizen interests to higher levels of authority remains limited. Drawing on different perspectives, this IDS Bulletin takes a fresh look at how local governance 'really' works and how it could become more accountable, effective and legitimate to support development that favours poor and marginalised people. Extending the boundaries of prevailing debates on methodological and conceptual issues, civil society, political and power relationships, and the challenges of decentralisation in (post)- conflict settings, the authors offer an outlook on taking forward the work on localising governance and designing policies that help improve its performance. Rather than a set of contributions that speak to one overarching question, this IDS Bulletin represents a panoply of different perspectives on 'the local'. Articles chart out several promising avenues for taking forward the work on localising governance and designing policies that help improve its performance. While these are not the only avenues that deserve attention, they do point to several issues that require deeper thought on the part of both scholars and policymakers. There is certainly a need for more multi- and inter-disciplinary research on the complexities involved in making local governance in poor and/or conflict-affected countries more responsive, inclusive and effective.