EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Megaprojects—mega failures? The politics of aspiration and the transformation of rural Kenya

Detlef Müller-Mahn (), Kennedy Mkutu and Eric Kioko
Additional contact information
Detlef Müller-Mahn: University of Bonn
Kennedy Mkutu: United States International University
Eric Kioko: Kenyatta University

The European Journal of Development Research, 2021, vol. 33, issue 4, No 13, 1069-1090

Abstract: Abstract Megaprojects are returning to play a key role in the transformation of rural Africa, despite controversies over their outcome. While some view them as promising tools for a ‘big push’ of modernization, others criticize their multiple adverse effects and risk of failure. Against this backdrop, the paper revisits earlier concepts that have explained megaproject failures by referring to problems of managerial complexity and the logics of state-led development. Taking recent examples from Kenya, the paper argues for a more differentiated approach, considering the symbolic role infrastructure megaprojects play in future-oriented development politics as objects of imagination, vision, and hope. We propose to explain the outcomes of megaprojects by focusing on the ‘politics of aspiration’, which unfold at the intersection between different actors and scales. The paper gives an overview of large infrastructure projects in Kenya and places them in the context of the country´s national development agenda ‘Vision 2030′. It identifies the relevant actors and investigates how controversial aspirations, interests and foreign influences play out on the ground. The paper concludes by describing megaproject development as future making, driven by the mobilizing power of the ‘politics of aspiration’. The analysis of megaprojects should consider not only material outcomes but also their symbolic dimension for desirable futures.

Keywords: Politics of aspiration; Megaproject; Development corridor; Rural transformation; Kenya (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://link.springer.com/10.1057/s41287-021-00397-x Abstract (text/html)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:33:y:2021:i:4:d:10.1057_s41287-021-00397-x

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.springer.com/journal/41287/PS2

DOI: 10.1057/s41287-021-00397-x

Access Statistics for this article

The European Journal of Development Research is currently edited by Spencer Henson and Natalia Lorenzoni

More articles in The European Journal of Development Research from Palgrave Macmillan, European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

 
Page updated 2022-07-02
Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:33:y:2021:i:4:d:10.1057_s41287-021-00397-x