The Politics of Backlash: Critiques of the New Accountability Agenda

  • Anne Marie Goetz
  • Rob Jenkins
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


One indication that a new accountability agenda is indeed emerging is the political backlash it has engendered. The motives of the critics vary widely, and are expressed differently in different contexts. In this chapter, we examine three streams of criticism: (1) that the design of new accountability initiatives tends to depoliticize the activism of the poor, or at least to channel it into activities that fail to challenge the structural power of political elites; (2) that non-state-centred accountability experiments stunt the development of formal political institutions; and (3) that the increasing surveillance of officials stifles bureaucratic initiative and inhibits the development of a public-service culture more generally.


Civil Society Accountability Mechanism Democratic Accountability Accountability Relationship Accountability Institution 
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© Anne Marie Goetz and Rob Jenkins 2005

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  • Anne Marie Goetz
  • Rob Jenkins

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