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Intersubjective meaning and collective action in 'fragile' societies : theory, evidence and policy implications, Volume 1
Author:Gauri, Varun; Woolcock, Michael; Desai, Deval; Country:World;
Date Stored:2011/06/23Document Date:2011/06/01
Document Type:Policy Research Working PaperSubTopics:Labor Policies; Corporate Law; Population Policies; Cultural Policy; Public Sector Corruption & Anticorruption Measures
Language:EnglishRegion:The World Region
Report Number:WPS5707Collection Title:Policy Research working paper ; no. WPS 5707
Volume No:1  

Summary: The capacity to act collectively is not just a matter of groups sharing interests, incentives and values (or being sufficiently small), as standard economic theory predicts, but a prior and shared understanding of the constituent elements of problem(s) and possible solutions. From this standpoint, the failure to act collectively can stem at least in part from relevant groups failing to ascribe a common intersubjective meaning to situations, processes and events. Though this is a general phenomenon, it is particularly salient in countries characterized by societal fragility and endemic conflict. We develop a conceptual account of intersubjective meanings, explain its relevance to development practice and research, and examine its implications for development work related to building the rule of law and managing common pool resources.

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