| Edited by A.Bebbington, R. Abramovay, and M. Chiriboga | Special section of World Development 36(12) |

Summary: This special section brings together 4 of the 12 studies conducted within a research program analyzing the relationships among social mobilization, governance, and rural development in contemporary Latin America. The introduction gives an overview of the contemporary significance of social movements for rural development dynamics in the region, and of the principal insights of the section papers and the broader research program of which they were a part. This significance varies as an effect of two distinct and uneven geographies: the geography of social movements themselves and the geography of the rural political economy. The effects that movements have on the political economy of rural development also depend significantly on internal characteristics of these movements. The paper identifies several such characteristics. The general pattern is that movements have had far more effect on widening the political inclusiveness of rural development than they have on improving its economic inclusiveness and dynamism.