Jenny Pearce

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Professor Jenny Pearce

"Jenny's research in the 1980s focused on the US role in Latin America and the Caribbean (Under the Eagle, London Latin America Bureau, 1982 and 1985, Boston South End Press) and struggles for social and political change (eg. Peasant Rebellion in Chalatenango, El Salvador (London: Latin America Bureau, 1985) and Colombia:Inside the Labyrinth (London: Latin America Bureau, 1190, Schmetterlink Verlag, Stuttgart and Altamir Ediciones, Bogota, Colombia, 1993). In the early 1990s she worked with Professor Ken Medhurst on the democratic transition in Chile, and conducted field research in Chile in 1991 and 1992 (Democracy and Development in a Divided Society, in A. Leftwich (ed) Democracy and Development Cambridge, Polity Press). She also began to explore the changing relationships between non-governmental organisations and social movements in Latin America during that decade, publishing `NGOs and Social Change: Facilitators or Agents' in Development in Practice, Vol 3, No. 3 1993 pp 222-227, and `Between Cooption and Irrelevance? Latin American NGOs in the 1990s' in M. Edwards and D. Hulme (eds) Too Close for Comfort (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1997) and was guest editor of the Development in Practice Reader: Development, NGOs and Civil Society (Oxford:Oxfam, 1999. In 2001, she joined forces with Professor Jude Howell (now Director of the Civil Society Unit at the LSE), to publish a co-authored book and several papers on the relationship between Civil Society and Development (Civil Society and Development: A Critical Exploration, Bo.Colorado: Lynne Rienner), which included case studies from Guatemala and Latin America.

"In the 1990s also, Jenny visited many areas of violence and armed conflict in Latin America and conducted a number of field studies for international NGOs. She explored the problems of violence in Southern Mexico for the Project Counselling Service, an international consortium of NGOs working on refugees and internally displaced populations, as well as the problems of internal displacement in Colombia. She led an international mission to look at the problems of internal displacement in Peru, following the capture of the leader of Sendero Luminoso, and later conducted a study for Oxfam on the post war development prospects of the Andean region of Peru. She began an in depth, decade long study of the post war reconstruction process in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, in 1997 originally with funding from the IDRC in Canada, and also for the IDRC in 2005, assessed the contribution of several research organizations in Guatemala to Security Sector Reform. As part of the research in Huehuetenango, she helped establish CEDFOG, an educational and research centre in the town of Huehuetenango.

"Jenny published a number of studies on the post war peace-building processes in Central America in the 1990s (eg From Civil War to 'Civil Society': has the end of the Cold War brought peace to Central America?', International Affairs, 74, 3, 1998. Pearce, J: Peace-building on the Periphery: Lessons from Central America, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 20, No 1, pp 51-68, February 1999; Between 1999 and 2004, she focused on a particular debate in the political economy of war, around resources, economic agendas and civil war. She undertook three field trips to Casanare, Colombia to research the relationship between oil and conflict, participating in a Ford Foundation research project led by the Centre for Global Governance at the LSE. This research has been published as a long working paper by the Centre (Beyond the Perimeter Fence: Oil and Armed Conflict in Casanare, Colombia, LSE Centre For Global Governance, Working Paper 32 , this also translated and published as a book in Colombia: Mas Alla de la Malla Perimetral, El Petroleo y el Conflicto Armado en Casanare, Colombia, Bogota, CINEP, 2005 pp103,Oil and Armed Conflict in Casanare, Colombia: Complex Contexts and Contingent Moments, in Mary Kaldor, Terry Lynne Karl, Yahia Said (eds) Oil Wars London: Pluto Press, 2007; Policy Failure and Petroleum Predation:The economics of civil war debate viewed from the warzone' Government and Opposition, Vol 40, no. 2 pp 152-180.

"Jenny continues to be deeply involved in contemporary debates on politics and social change in Latin America and has published a number of conceptual studies around the themes of civil society, collective action and public participation (Collective Action or Public Participation?: Civil society and the public sphere in post 'transition Latin America, in Glasius, Lewis and Seckinelgin, (2004) Exploring Civil Society: Political and Cultural Contexts London:Routledge; Collective Action and Public Participation: Complementary or Contradictory Democratisation strategies in Latin America Bulletin of Latin American Research Vol 23, No.4, pp 483-504. She is currently directs a comparative ESRC-funded research project on municipal innovation in non-governmental public participation, UK and Latin America. She coordinates a team of five field researchers in Porto Alegre, Caracas, and Medellin in Latin America and Bradford and Manchester in the UK.

"Jenny Pearce has worked for many years with international NGOs working in Latin America, including Christian Aid, Oxfam, CAFOD, Project Counselling Services, Novib, Hivos, Plan Netherelands and others. In 2000, she began to turn her attention to social change in Bradford and the north of England. In 2000, Jenny was invited to participate in the Ouseley Commission , which was set up by Bradford local authority to explore community relations and tensions in the District. Following the submission of the report in 2001, a week in which riots broke out, Jenny set up the Programme for a Peaceful City, a network of academics and practitioners who meet to discuss issues facing the District. Jenny continues to mentor the Programme Officer for the PPC, and works with organizations in Burnley and Oldham to foster debate around community cohesion. Jenny has also played a role in helping the University to think through its Community Engagement strategy within its locality. Between 2005 -2006 she led a team to develop a measurement took for Community Engagement work, and this was launched in 2007 as the REAP Metrix Tool. (J.Pearce and M.Pearson with Sam Cameron, The Ivory Tower and Beyond: Bradford's REAP approach to measuring Community Engagement).

"Jenny is on the editorial board of Development in Practice, Security and Development and the Community Development Journal." [1]


  • Jenny Pearce, Under the eagle : U.S. intervention in Central America and the Caribbean (South End Press, 1982), foreword by Richard Gott.

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Jenny Pearce, accessed April 8, 2010.