After two decades of marketizing, an array of national and international actors have become concerned with growing global inequality, the failure to reduce the numbers of very poor people in the world, and a perceived global backlash against international economic institutions. This new concern with poverty reduction and the political participation of excluded groups has set the stage for a new politics of inclusion within nations and in the international arena. The essays in this volume explore what forms the new politics of inclusion can take in low- and middle-income countries. The contributors favor a polity-centered approach that focuses on the political capacities of social and state actors to negotiate large-scale collective solutions and that highlights various possible strategies to lift large numbers of people out of poverty and political subordination.
The contributors suggest there is little basis for the radical polycentrism that colors so much contemporary development thought. They focus on how the political capabilities of different societal and state actors develop over time and how their development is influenced by state action and a variety of institutional and other factors. The final chapter draws insightful conclusions about the political limitations and opportunities presented by current international discourse on poverty.
"Houtzager, Moore, and their knowledgeable collaborators boldly address one of our time's major conundrums: whether, to what extent, and how world economic growth can actually enhance the well being and political influence of the currently excluded poor. Examining an impressive range of countries and regions, they give reasons for cautious hope and determination."
—Charles Tilly, Joseph L. Buttenwieser Professor of Social Science, Columbia University
"At last, an empirically grounded and elegant understanding of a politics of poverty reduction that is positive, and not negative-which also shows how current approaches to poverty reduction are missing important opportunities."
—Judith Tendler, Professor of Political Economy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"In Changing Paths, Houtzager and Moore provide a powerful antidote to paralyzing pessimism regarding the possibility of alleviating poverty in a world of increasing global inequality. Steering clear of unrealistic and romantic optimism, this book offers careful, compelling arguments for the possibility of effective inclusionary politics at the local and national level that make it worthwhile reading for anyone, academic or practitioner, working on these issues."
—Peter Evans, Professor and Chair of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley
"The polity that is developed in the book examines the nature of collective action among the poor. It questions which government policies and which changes over time in social and political conditions tend to encourage collaborative action, and which factors contribute to the sustainability of any gains that are won as a result of the action. . . . While it may be impossible to overcome the ontological and epistemological divide between neo-liberal and post-structural analysis, the attempt to bridge the gap that exists between actual practice and abstract theory/ideology makes this an important book for anyone seeking practical solutions to the dilemmas of development."
—European Journal of Development
"Nine papers explore the political processes that can, or are believed to, contribute to the emergence of a new politics of inclusion, and critically to the emergence of a new politics of inclusion, and critically examine some of the dominant intellectual trends in international development."
—Journal of Economic Literature