We begin this paper by reviewing some recent transformations in governance. We then propose three new concepts that we believe assist us in coming to terms with these transformations and the political statuses that have emerged as part of them. These concepts are 'nodal governance', 'denizens', and 'communal space'. Following this we will explore the normative implications of nodal governance as it has taken shape to date, with an emphasis on the 'governance disparity' that is paralleling the 'wealth disparity' across the globe. In response to this disparity, we will end with an outline of a normative vision and practical programme aimed at deepening democracy in poor areas of South Africa, Argentina, and elsewhere. We will argue that the main virtue of nodal governance, namely, the emphasis on local capacity and knowledge can be retrieved, reaffirmed, and reinstitutionalized in ways that enhance the self-direction of poor communities while strengthening their 'collective capital'.