International Development Planning Review

Towards a dynamic structure-agency framework: Understanding patterns of participation in community-driven development in Uchira, Tanzania

International Development Planning Review (2008), 30, (4), 399–420.

Abstract

This article theorises patterns of individual participation in collective development activities in Uchira, Tanzania. Drawing on literature on chronic poverty it proposes that the construction of a dynamic structure-agency framework for understanding participation may provide a guide to the specificity of the patterns of collective participation and the differential agency of individuals to shape collective spaces. Using ethnographic research in Uchira village in Tanzania, the article plots the differential participation of individuals in Uchira in relation to structural factors of gender, wealth and age, and then considers how these interact with individual agency through a discussion of local norms and behaviour, personal motivations and social relationships. Through a consideration of the dynamic interaction of structural factors and individual agency in producing certain patterns of participation; it allows for a clearer analysis of the limitations of mechanisms for enhancing local participation and community-driven development.

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Mdee, Anna