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Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Gina Porter

Porter, G. & Lyon, F. (2006). Groups as a means or an end? Social capital and the promotion of cooperation in Ghana. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 24(2): 249-262.

Author(s) from Durham


In the past two decades there has been a growing emphasis within the international development industry on promoting group activity. In this paper we chart how interpretation of the loose concept of social capital has shaped donor and NGO discourses on, and their preoccupation with, groups. Donors are using blueprints of group cooperation in an asocial and aspatial manner that ignores local specificities of place, space and cultural context. An empirical case is examined that demonstrates how donor discourse is reinterpreted, translated, and even rejected by players at different spatial scales. The reasons for continued donor preoccupation with groups in the face of local resistances are explored.