| By A. Bebbington and D. Bebbington | Published in Area, Vol. 33 No. 1: 7-17 |
| Reprinted in William Moseley, David Lanegran and Kavita Pandit (eds.) The Introductory Reader in Human Geography: Contemporary Debates and Classic Writings. Oxford. Blackwell Press, pp. 309-318. |
Abstract: This paper argues that much scholarly work on civil society and alternative development has three weaknesses: it understates the diversity among popular organizations and their ideas about development alternatives; it pays insufficient attention to the economic dimensions of alternatives; and it understates the potential importance of the local state. Drawing on experiences from highland Bolivia, we suggest that a closer engagement with the dilemmas encountered in practical attempts to pursue development alternatives can suggest ways forward in each of these areas. Linking scholarly and practical work is thus important for theoretical reasons as well as ones of relevance.