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This chapter begins by examining the particular role that global institutions, such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO play in constructing and consolidating national policy. The social and political implications of these policies are highlighted and the role ascribed to civil society in managing the resultant fallout is interrogated. Charting the range of discursive and institutional mechanisms employed in engaging civic groups, the chapter argues that global institutions seek to construct not just national policy, but communities themselves, thereby effecting their disciplined inclusion into the globalised neo-liberal development project. Drawing on specific examples from Africa and Ireland, the chapter reflects on the implications – both negative and positive – of different forms of engagement for community development.

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