Adventures in Aidland: The Anthropology of Professionals in International Development

Adventures in Aidland: The Anthropology of Professionals in International Development

by David Mosse (Editor)

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Anthropological interest in new subjects of research and contemporary knowledge practices has turned ethnographic attention to a wide ranging variety of professional fields. Among these the encounter with international development has perhaps been longer and more intimate than any of the others. Anthropologists have drawn critical attention to the interfaces and social effects of development’s discursive regimes but, oddly enough, have paid scant attention to knowledge producers themselves, despite anthropologists being among them. This is the focus of this volume. It concerns the construction and transmission of knowledge about global poverty and its reduction but is equally interested in the social life of development professionals, in the capacity of ideas to mediate relationships, in networks of experts and communities of aid workers, and in the dilemmas of maintaining professional identities. Going well beyond obsolete debates about ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, the book examines the transformations that occur as social scientific concepts and practices cross and re-cross the boundary between anthropological and policy making knowledge.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781782380634
Publisher: Berghahn Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/01/2013
Series: Studies in Public and Applied Anthropology , #6
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.53(d)

About the Author

David Mosse is Professor of Social Anthropology, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He has also worked for Oxfam in south India, as a social development adviser for DFID, and as a consultant for various international development agencies. Recent books include Cultivating Development: An ethnography of aid policy and practice (2005); The Aid Effect: Giving and Governing in International development (2005, ed. with D. Lewis); and Development Translators and Brokers (2006, ed. with D. Lewis).

Table of Contents

List of Contributors

Preface and Acknowledgements

Chapter 1. Introduction: The Anthropology of Expertise and Professionals in International Development

David Mosse

Chapter 2. Calculating Compassion: Accounting for Some Categorical Practices in International Development

Maia Green

Chapter 3. Rendering Society Technical: Government Through Community and the Ethnographic Turn at the World Bank in Indonesia

Tania Murray Li

Chapter 4. Social Analysis as Corporate Product: Non-Economists/Anthropologists at Work at the World Bank in Washington DC

David Mosse

Chapter 5. The World Bank's Expertise: Observant Participation in the World Development Report 2006, Equity and Development

Desmond McNeill and Asun Lera St.Clair

Chapter 6. World Health and Nepal: Producing Internationals, Healthy Citizenship and the Cosmopolitan

Ian Harper

Chapter 7. The Sociality of International Aid and Policy Convergence

Rosalind Eyben

Chapter 8. Parochial Cosmopolitanism and the Power of Nostalgia

Dinah Rajak and Jock Stirrat

Chapter 9. Tidy Concepts, Messy Lives: Defining Tensions in the Domestic and Overseas Careers of UK Non-governmental Professionals

David Lewis

Chapter 10. Coda: Alice in Aidland, A Seriously Satirical Allegory

Raymond Apthorpe



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