Empowered Participation or Political Manipulation? State, Civil Society and Social Funds in Egypt and Bolivia

Rabab El-Mahdi
Brill, Leiden and Boston, 2011, ISBN 978 90 04 20940 4, 204 pp.
Reviewed by or other comment: 

Sylvia I. Bergh
International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Against the background of changing state-civil society relations under neoliberalism, this book focuses on case studies of “empowered participatory institutions” (EPIs), namely Social Funds (SFs) in Egypt and Bolivia. EPIs feature “collaboration between state and civil-society actors to deepen the ways in which ordinary people can effectively participate in and influence policies that directly affect their lives” (p. 2). Social Funds provide the funds and technical support for community development projects initiated by civil society organisations.

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