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Mwale, Gilbert, 2019. The Elite Choice : ’Unpacking the elite’ in Mukungule Chiefdom, Zambia. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



Community-based natural resource management has been advocated for by many scholar and environmentalists to improve natural resources management, equity, and justice for local people. However, its implementation on the ground does not always reach the intended goal. This is because poor policies and institutions have led to undemocratic systems that empower elite control and capture. Studies perceive elites to be in full control of decision-making which is not the case. This study ‘unpacks the elite’ to gain new insight into how the mechanisms of elite control and capture operate. I use the concept of capital and the choice and recognition framework to build a foundation for studying how elite power is produced and exercised as a result of both the social context and institutional interventions. I used qualitative and quantitative methods in data collection to capture the life experiences of actors and ensure the reliability and validity of the study. The findings reveal elites use their capital to gain control of governing systems. In democratic systems, however, elites find it difficult to control and capture resources because engaged citizenship can hold them accountable. Elites are responsive to the public in circumstances where they risk losing or gaining symbolic capital. This means that elites are responsive to the pubic even in autocracies. Key policy changes are needed that considers the social and political context of the local community members in community-based initiatives.

Main title:The Elite Choice
Subtitle:’Unpacking the elite’ in Mukungule Chiefdom, Zambia
Authors:Mwale, Gilbert
Supervisor:Fischer, Harry
Examiner:Otto, Opira
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2019
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM009 Rural Development and Natural Resource Management - Master's Programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:elite control, elite capture, community-based natural resources management (CBNRM), local democracy, decentralization
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Rural sociology and social security
Deposited On:01 Jul 2019 13:10
Metadata Last Modified:04 Jun 2020 12:07

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