Civil society legitimacy as a balancing act: competing priorities for land rights advocacy organisations working with local communities in Kenya

Maaike Matelski, Selma Zijlstra, Luuk van Kempen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

While INGOs are known for having to balance competing demands in their quest for legitimacy, this article discusses a similar balancing act for local organisations working directly with communities in the field. Building on the social constructivist view that legitimacy is actor and context dependent, we examine how various parties perceive the legitimacy of three land rights advocacy organisations in Kenya. While regulatory and cognitive legitimacy have societal relevance, we found them to be of secondary importance to local communities, who primarily value pragmatic
and political legitimacy sources such as adequate representation, demonstrable output, responsiveness, and visibility in the field.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Development Studies = Revue canadienne d'études du développement
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

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