The democratization initiative symbolized by parish development committees promotes inclusiveness yet is led predominantly by older, educated middle-class individuals with talents and capacities garnered from several years of experience in various fields. Thomas argues that the opportunity cost of a more inclusive order explains this fact, in that Jamaica’s finite resources mean there is limited space for a learning curve and the cash-strapped committees have only been able to survive when their members could help to defray the cost of their operations.
By observing more than one hundred hours of parish development committee activities and interviewing sixty key informants and four focus groups, Thomas finds that the emergence, survival and thriving of parish development committees in Jamaica is determined largely by the extent to which emancipatory political tactics are successfully applied by committee stakeholders to combat a number of continuing challenges. His analysis provides a micro-scale view of the interaction of factors that have shaped the power and possibility of Jamaica’s democratization initiative.
List of Abbreviations / ix
1. Planting the Seeds of Jamaica’s Democracy / 1
2. The Space for and the Characteristics of Participatory Democracy / 12K
3. The People and the Paradigm of the PDC Process / 36
4. Rowing against the Tide of Assumptions: Testing the Limits of Survival and Creativity / 81
5. The Future of the Selected PDCs and the Link with Past Experiences / 122
Notes / 145<
Selected Bibliography / 167
Index / 177