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Title: Does institutionalising decentralisation work? : rethinking agency, institutions and authority in local governance : a case study of Ntonaboma in Kwahu-North District, Ghana
Author: Osei-Kufuor, Patrick
ISNI:       0000 0004 2714 0185
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis draws on an ethnographic research in Ghana to question mainstream views on decentralisation that local level institutions can be consciously crafted to enlist the participation of marginal actors in governance thereby leading to efficiency and equity in development. The research explores the everyday practice of local governance in Ntonaboma, a resettlement community in the Eastern region of Ghana by using participant observation and interviews. Evidence from the study reveals that first decentralisation is not a technical or managerial exercise but rather a societal practice taking place among heterogeneous actors with diverse interest and values. Secondly, the interactions occurring among these diverse actors are mediated through the interplay of a variety of institutions at the local level. Thirdly, the complex and dynamic character of decentralisation at the community level make the specificities of context very relevant in understanding the transformative potentials of decentralisation especially how it impacts on people and their social organisation. The study places emphasis on the application of agency, institutions and authority in local governance approaches. Evidence from the study suggests that institutionalised decentralisation inadequately provides possibilities for ordinary people to transform the nature of their interactions within the community. The thesis raises further questions about the simplistic and instrumental use of institutions in local governance approaches. The study notes that institutions are not static and do not determine outcomes but are informed by the prevailing conditions at the community level. Thus, the actions of actors and specificities of the locality do shape institutions. The study emphasises the role of existing institutions and socially embedded principles in village governance. It thus suggests that, the process of decentralisation is a political process mediated through diverse institutions and with varied outcomes for different individuals. The study concludes by exploring implications for local governance and decentralisation to making local governance pro-poor.
Supervisor: Morvaridi, Behrooz ; Cleaver, Frances Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Decentralisation ; Local governance ; Transformation ; Institutions ; Participation ; Agency ; Power ; Authority ; Ntonaboma, Kwahu-North District, Ghana