Lesli Hoey: Reclaiming the Authority to Plan: The Implications of Returning to a Centralized Government after the Legacy of Structural Adjustment

Lesli Hoey lecture
Lesli Hoey during her lecture in the Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium. William Staffeld / AAP
Lesli Hoey lecture
Lesli Hoey during her lecture in the Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium. William Staffeld / AAP
Pro-Evo Morales government graffiti in a small rural town in Bolivia
Pro-Evo Morales government graffiti in a small rural town in Bolivia, referring to government health reforms. Graffiti translation: Health before for a few, now for all. photo / Lesli Hoey
Lesli Hoey during her lecture in the Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium. William Staffeld / AAP Lesli Hoey during her lecture in the Abby and Howard Milstein Auditorium. William Staffeld / AAP Pro-Evo Morales government graffiti in a small rural town in Bolivia, referring to government health reforms. Graffiti translation: Health before for a few, now for all. photo / Lesli Hoey

Lesli Hoey (M.R.P. '06, Ph.D. CRP '12) is an assistant professor of urban and regional planning at the University of Michigan. She uses food systems as a lens to study the sociopolitical and institutional factors that mediate the ability of citizen planners and professional planners alike to realize their visions of more equitable, sustainable, and health-enhancing cities and regions. Hoey is particularly interested in the intersection of program design and food policy advocacy, implementation, and evaluation. Her past work, focused on Bolivia and comparative research, examined strategies for mainstreaming nutrition into national policy agendas, the challenges of multisectoral food policy, factors constraining nutrition interventions in rapidly urbanizing contexts, approaches for integrating evidence-based and experiential knowledge in food and nutrition evaluation, and indigenous methods for implementing "adaptive" food policy (i.e. iterative, collaborative, negotiated). Her current projects examine state-wide collaborative initiatives aiming to equitably reshape Michigan's food systems, the long-term environmental and sociopolitical impacts of innovative land redistribution in Bolivia's "soy capital" region, and the interactions between the dual burden — the persistence of under-nutrition alongside the rise in obesity —and food security, livelihoods, food environments, and household food production in two of Bolivia's rapidly urbanizing metropolitan regions. Hoey holds an M.R.P. and Ph.D. from AAP.

Abstract:

Thirty years after structural adjustment policies decentralized developing country governments, signs are emerging of a slow return to centralized state authority, including international aid agreements to support country-led development. Latin American governments in particular are beginning to apply policy, institutional, and civil society strategies to "reclaim the role of protagonist that [they] lost as a result of decentralization" (Dickovick and Eaton, 2013: 1454). What is not apparent is exactly how and how well national governments can implement actions after reclaiming the authority to plan, and what such changes mean for many of the gains — such as participatory planning — as well as the downsides of decentralization. Bolivia, once a showpiece for structural adjustment reforms, is now a prime example of a government attempting to reestablish state-led development. This talk examines Bolivia's efforts to do so in numerous sectors, and the mixed implications for natural resource extraction, NGO politics, food systems, health policy, and more, using the Zero Malnutrition program as a key example.

Sponsored by the Aline MacMahon Stein Lecture Series.