The last two decades have seen the remarkable rise to dominance of human-centred understandings of the world. Indeed, it is now rare to read any analysis of insecurity, conflict or development which does not discuss the need to 'empower' or 'capacity-build' local individuals or communities. In this path-breaking book, Chandler presents a radical challenge to such approaches, arguing that the solutions to the world's problems are now not perceived to lie within external structures of economic, political and social relations, but instead with individuals and groups who are often seen to be the most marginal and powerless. This fundamental change has gone hand-in-hand with the shift from state-based to society-based understandings of the world. Chandler provocatively argues that human-centred approaches have limited rather than expanded the transformative possibilities available to us, and if real change is to be achieved - both at a local and a global level - then a radical re-think in Western thought is required.
1. Introduction: the subject of governance 2. From freedom to necessity 3. Resilience: the self-production of society 4. Development and human agency 5. The social construction of difference 6. Empowerment and human security 7. Conclusion: reasserting human freedom