Local Participation or Elite Capture in Sheep’s Clothing? A Conundrum of Locally Led Development

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Local Participation or Elite Capture in Sheep’s Clothing? A Conundrum of Locally Led Development


  • Aidan Craney Department of Social Inquiry, La Trobe University, Australia


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Abstract:  This article discusses concepts of legitimacy and elite capture in locally led development through a case study of the Pacific-based Green Growth Leaders’ Coalition (GGLC). GGLC is a fellowship of persons identified for their developmental leadership potential on issues of sustainability and economic growth. Members are recruited into an exclusive grouping dedicated to influencing positive developmental change through informal networks and political backchannels. With their membership representing people who both self-identify and are locally recognised as leaders, queries exist to the extent to which their efforts represent a shift towards greater ownership of developmental processes at local levels or simply reinforce elite capture of ‘local voice’ in the most aid-dependent region in the world. Rather than necessarily offering straightforward answers to questions of legitimacy and elite capture, the example of GGLC demonstrates how complex the notion of locally led development can be in practice.

Keywords:  development; diplomacy; elite capture; local leadership; locally led development; Pacific

Published:   25 November 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v8i4.3343


© Aidan Craney. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.