Empowering through collective action

Bosc Pierre-Marie. 2018. Empowering through collective action. Rome : IFAD, 39 p. (Research Series, 29) ISBN 978-92-9072-855-9

Published version - Anglais
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Abstract : In development studies, collective action often appears as a condition for achieving long-term ownership of development-oriented actions. Here, collective action is considered as a condition for the expansion of individual strategies. We also view collective action as a product of individuals getting together to achieve some common goal and thus accepting the constraints linked to collective action.This paper explores the conditions for collective action to generate inclusion when agriculture transforms. Changes related to agricultural transformation have often led to urban migration for those rural and agricultural populations that could not cope with “modernization.” In the coming decades, agricultural transformation in rural areas may lead to more varied responses such as new farming patterns including more labour and thus require a broader diversity of collective action.We consider households as the basic level where decisions are taken regarding domestic and economic activities: any improvement in one of these spheres will benefit the other. Improvements in households will also depend on other levels of investment: in local communities, in various interlinked sectors and by developing vertical linkages with other levels of organization, up to national policy level.Based on a range of theoretical and empirical references, we propose a framework that goes beyond sector-oriented perspectives, linking several interconnected domains where collective action can make a contribution towards inclusion. In each of these domains, collective action could usefully focus on three main areas that potentially influence those domains: public goods provision, expanding opportunities (livelihood diversification and community infrastructure), and challenging current norms and behaviours.We then explore how to operationalize this collective action framework to generate inclusion at local level across sector-oriented interventions, including by developing linkages with higher levels of organization, up to social movements. What is at stake is the ability of research and policymaking to support initiatives that cut across sectoral frontiers, favour interactions that open local people up to new ideas and beliefs, and look to bridge gaps in social status and between local and global thinking.

Mots-clés libres : Empowerment, Collective action, Inclusion, Agricultural transformation, IFAD

Classification Agris : E10 - Agricultural economics and policies
E51 - Rural population

Axe stratégique Cirad : Axe 1 (2014-2018) - Agriculture écologiquement intensive

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Bosc Pierre-Marie

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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