Enrolling Ordinary People

Special Report: Critique of Participation and Governmentality
Is Avoiding Politics at the Heart of New Government Strategies?
By John Clarke, Laurent Vannini

Recent strategies for governing the social have placed a premium on recruiting ordinary people to these processes. This commitment to the value of ordinary people links British initiatives in public services and citizenship to innovations in development strategies in countries of the South. This paper asks what it is that makes ordinary people such a desired object of governmental strategies, and suggests that it is their assumed a-political character and ability to contribute values, knowledge, and other resources that are beyond the state. The paper suggests that although keeping politics out of governing may be a governmental ambition, ordinary people cannot be relied upon to perform in such a manner.


  • governing the social
  • citizenship
  • development
  • empowerment
  • politics
  • depoliticisation
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info