This chapter elaborates on a specific limitation of the recent emphasis on formalisation in a particular aspect of the practice of international development. Through a case study of the recent legal empowerment of the poor initiative, the chapter demonstrates that the value of political participation and its potential effect on poverty alleviation is illustrative of the type of values that are misplaced as a result of the pursuit of formalisation. After outlining the specific elements of this argument, the chapter shows that there is a stronger appreciation of political participation among the poor in the informal sphere in Africa and other parts of the third world. Apart from firmly grasping the significance of political participation, the expansiveness of diverse forms of activity in the informal sphere provides a significant medium to concretise this value, particularly in ways that can compete with mainstream initiatives aspiring to do the same. The chapter concludes by sketching out key features and the potential of the informal political participation of the poor, including the advantage this model holds over the human right to political participation.
|Title of host publication||African legal theory and contemporary problems|
|Subtitle of host publication||critical essays|
|Place of Publication||Netherlands|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
|Name||Ius Gentium: comparative perspectives on law and justice|
Onazi, O. (2014). Legal empowerment of the poor: does political participation matter? . In O. Onazi (Ed.), African legal theory and contemporary problems: critical essays (2014 ed., pp. 221-240). (Ius Gentium: comparative perspectives on law and justice; Vol. 29). Springer Netherlands. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7537-4_11