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Rethinking development

2020-2021

The blog entries this year are on Adobe Spark. Read them here: 

2019-2020

Corporate Philanthropy and its ulterior motives

By Jade Laverick, Lara Dixon, Emmeline Velecky, Amber Pocock, Shadee Lacey, Christian McKinnon, Cheyane Brown

In recent years, multinational corporations have been in the headlines for their philanthropic endeavours and charitable donations. Whilst on the surface, these large donations might appear as selfless attempts to improve lives around the globe, they are tied up in social relations in such a way that giving away money is never the end of the story. We will explore these issues through the examples of corporate giving by Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. [Continue reading.]

Rethinking Philanthropy Within Development

By Alexandra Cain, Alexander Kidd, Lydia King, Yolanda Lindsey-Clark, Gemma Mountain, Jack Wallace, and Sorrel Wilson

Philanthropy is a highly debated topic within aid and development. As discussed in a leading article by The Economist (2006), increasing social inequality has led to a surge in wealth disparity between the rich and the general population. This has increased the need (and demand) for philanthropy. The current climate of aid research is increasingly hostile to internal state-based options, with an ever-increasing number of anti-aid texts from respected authors such as Hancock’s (1989) ‘Lords of Poverty’ and Moyo’s (2009) ‘Dead Aid’. This has been coupled with a steady decrease in faith from the public about the efficacy of planned state-based aid (Harrison, 2013: 271). [Continue reading.]

2018-9

Rethinking the semantics of development

By Ximena Altamirano, Soriyah Carnegie, Tom Hemington, Sharada Kamble, Gabija Kucinskaite, Emily Norman, Matilda Trevitt, Nikita Vadolia

The politicisation of NGOs (or lack thereof) in the context of development pursuits has been a contested issue in the anthropology of development and humanitarianism since the 1990s. Central to this debate has been James Ferguson’s (1990) scathing critique of development as the ‘anti-politics machine’. Analysing development projects in Lesotho, Ferguson shows the instrumentality of international NGOs in the extension and implementation of state governance in the region, highlighting that the discourses and practices of ‘development’ can function as governing strategies, obscured through terms of neutrality and being ‘apolitical’. [Continue reading]

Can faith-based organisations offer a different way of development?

By Calypso April, Ysabel Hannam, Jessica Brown, Freddie Gilbey, Lucie Bataller, and Sarah Keogh

Faith-based organisations, or FBOs, use their values and networks to plan and practice development. In this piece, we seek to uncover whether or not this means that FBOs can offer a different method of development to the norm – the norm being the work of secular non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It must be noted that our aim is not to evaluate FBOs against secular organisations or to conclude which method is better. [Continue reading]

2017-8

Linking development expertise with local lived experience

By Merrill Hopper, Calvin Laverick, James Lever, Rory Read, Gemma Robbins, Joana Salles, Othmane Benharbit

A common theme in the anthropology of development is treating international aid as a form of government. The notion that aid organisations use techniques to manage and control populations is heavily drawn upon in ethnographic research. Green (2011) argues that the propensity for anthropologists to view governance in a negative light limits their participation in development work. [Continue reading]

The (failing) promise of CSR to deliver development

By Mirjam Rennit, Melanie Spear, Madeleine Trentesaux, Claudiu Nicolae Toader, Annabel McCosker

In an increasingly globalized world, trans-national corporations are present everywhere, their activities having a significant and often detrimental effect on the local communities. As such, corporations often engage in practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in an attempt to remedy such consequences and also potentially aid in the development of said local community. With this context in mind, this essay will explore the potential of CSR for providing meaningful change and how CSR interacts with development in the local socio-political climate. [Continue reading]

2016-7

Two contrasting anthropological approaches to development

By Frederick Charles Craig, Husniye Ilhan, Grace Ludlow, Hisako Okuzumi, Margaux Soyer, Rebecca Spruce, Sophie Esme Taylor Martin

Anthropological analysis can offer a unique insight into understanding the expertise of development and humanitarian practitioners. What makes the subject of anthropology different to other disciplines is its dedication to long term, in depth fieldwork using participatory and observational methods on a small scale. Anthropologists gain local knowledge of particular groups of people, including that of development aid workers, taking care to avoid preconceptions and revealing unexamined presuppositions. [Continue reading]

Unintended consequences?: Power, politics and cultural relativism

By Ilya Ruphay Cereso, Sumire Ebara, Lydia Harford, Grace Lyons, Eve Amelia Ridyard

Anthropological analysis helps us understand development and humanitarian expertise better by allowing for a deeper understanding of development programmes. By studying development projects and conducting ethnographic research on the practices, outcomes and people involved, anthropology can offer unexpected perspectives on what would otherwise seem to be unintended outcomes or failures. [Continue reading]