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Title: Partial power, partial knowledge: accounting for the dis-integration of a Costa Rican cooperative

Author: McCandless, Susannah R.; Emery, Marla R.;

Date: 2008

Source: Society and Natural Resources. 21: 310-323.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Drawing on the writings of Foucault, we argue that the multiple-service cooperative at the core of a Costa Rican highland municipality failed due to an incomplete transformation from sovereign to governmental regimes at the regional scale. The cooperative challenged sovereign power, held by the local patron and private biological reserves, with a governance model based on the individual as a unit of productivity, principles of democratic participation, and maintenance of social well-being in a market context. The recent institutional disintegration of the cooperative into smaller autonomous organizations stems from the co-op's incomplete enforcement of cooperative codes of accountability in participation and participation in accounting, exacerbated by global-scale factors. The Foucauldian lens illuminates the history of CoopeSantaElena, showing how well-intentioned agents need transparent, enabling structures to shape sustainable trajectories on the economic, social, and biophysical landscape.

Keywords: accountability, accounting, coffee production, cooperatives, Costa Rica, Foucault, governance regimes, governmentality, Monteverde, power/knowledge

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McCandless, Susannah R.; Emery, Marla R. 2008. Partial power, partial knowledge: accounting for the dis-integration of a Costa Rican cooperative. Society and Natural Resources. 21: 310-323.


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