Participatory Municipal Planning in Bolivia: an ambiguous experience

Never before has the Bolivian state made such a serious effort to promote peasant participation in local development. In 1994, it promulgated the Law of Popular Participation which institutionalised a Participatory Municipal Planning methodology. While fully recognising its progressive nature, it is not too hard to discover authoritarian flaws within this methodology. The authors argue that the concept of participation should be viewed as `negotiation' in order to increase the scope of peasant participation in the planning process. This in turn implies some major methodological changes, but would result in Municipal Development Plans with the flexibility to account for the specific situations of the Bolivian peasantry.