Projects of Improvement, Continuities of Neglect: Re-Fragmenting the Periphery in Southern Rural Jordan

Katharina Lenner


This paper analyzes projects of improvement and continuities of neglect found in two peripheral regions in the rural south of Jordan. These areas have been framed as poverty pockets and singled out for special attention. Yet, despite the multitude of improvement projects targeting them since 1990, they have remained on the periphery. I argue that this has resulted from certain dynamics found within current strategies of intervention. These put people in their place as "locals" and render their concerns inferior to "national" or "global" interests. Accordingly, the transformations witnessed are best described as a socio-spatial re-fragmentation of governing strategies.


Periphery; Re-Fragmentation; Jordan; Development; Poverty Alleviation; Rural

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Katharina Lenner is a political scientist and a post-doctoral fellow at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence. She is also an associated researcher at the Institut fran├žais du Proche-Orient (ifpo) in Amman. Her research focuses on political transformation and the politics of development in the Arab Mashriq. She is particularly interested in how globalized blueprints for intervention take on a shape of their own as they become meaningful in specific contexts. In this vein, her PhD dissertation (FU Berlin, 2014) analyzes the politics of poverty alleviation and local development in Jordan.