Power and reflexive practice
How can international aid professionals manage to deal with the daily dilemmas of working for the wellbeing of people in countries other than their own?
I seek to answer that question in a book that provides a vivid and accessible insight into the world of aid – its people, ideas and values against the backdrop of a broader historical analysis of the contested ideals and politics of aid operations from the 1960s to the present day.
Moving between aid-recipient countries, head office and global policy spaces, I critically examine my own behaviour to explore what happens when trying to improve people’s lives in far-away countries and warn how self-deception may construct obstacles to the very change desired. I propose that to help make this a better world, individuals and organisations working in international development must respond self-critically to the dilemmas of power and knowledge that shape aid’s messy relations.
Written in an accessible way with vignettes, stories and dialogue, this critical history of aid provides practical tools and methodology for students in development studies, anthropology and international studies and for development practitioners to adopt the habit of reflexivity when helping to make a better world.
See Duncan Green’s review at From Poverty to Power, an interview about the writing of the book at Gender at Work and in Open Democracy the story in Chapter 6 about trust, history and the making of a better world.