Relational Accountability: Complexities of Structural Injustice

Moncrieffe, Joy
Zed Books, London and New York, 2011, ISBN: 978 1 8481 3466 9, 240 pp.
Reviewed by or other comment: 

Thomas Franklin


Despite its ungainly title, Joy Moncrieffe's Relational Accountability provides important insights into the interaction between formal political and administrative processes and informal social relationships in initiatives to promote the rights, freedoms and capabilities that ought to obtain in all democracies. It brings together theories from a broad range of sources, including Aristotle, Paolo Freire, and Amartya Sen, in chapters on the institutions of representative democracy, the evolution of the concepts of governance and citizenship, the role of power and ideology, the influence of social groupings and the boundaries between them, and the centrality of justice in social change. The theoretical underpinnings of the issues involved are complex both per se and as they relate to each other, but examples from Brazil, Africa and, above all, the violent inner-city neighbourhoods of Kingston, Jamaica, illustrate why they need to be incorporated more systematically and more specifically in development practice.

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