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Development beyond Politics
 
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Development beyond Politics
Aid, Activism and NGOs in Ghana
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
28 Jul 2011
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£61.00
|Hardback Print on Demand
  
9780230236424
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

Is 'development' a solution for positive social change or a cynical western strategy for maintaining inequality? Do African NGOs represent a flourishing civil society or the strategic allocation of external resources by local elites? Moving beyond an increasingly polarized debate about the role of NGOs, this book reveals the practices and social relations through which ideas of development are concretely established. Rather than reducing these to a single, encompassing development 'logic', Yarrow argues for the need to understand the multiple and conflicting epistemologies through which development interventions practically proceed. Through ethnographic description, he brings to life the everyday realities of development professionals in Ghana. The result is a profound challenge to theories of development and public culture in Africa and beyond.


Description

Is 'development' a solution for positive social change or a cynical western strategy for maintaining inequality? Do African NGOs represent a flourishing civil society or the strategic allocation of external resources by local elites? Moving beyond an increasingly polarized debate about the role of NGOs, this book reveals the practices and social relations through which ideas of development are concretely established. Rather than reducing these to a single, encompassing development 'logic', Yarrow argues for the need to understand the multiple and conflicting epistemologies through which development interventions practically proceed. Through ethnographic description, he brings to life the everyday realities of development professionals in Ghana. The result is a profound challenge to theories of development and public culture in Africa and beyond.


Reviews

'Never before, in studies of African NGO's and development, has cosmopolitan activism been taken so seriously, as it is in this deeply insightful ethnography of Ghanaian elites. Yarrow rethinks for activists' practice and rhetoric what Afro-pessimists dismiss as 'corruption'. The break-through in this important contribution to wider debate about ideology and action comes free of the old snap-shot methodologies which have produced so many Afro-pessimist shibboleths. With greater time depth, this book's wealth of original life histories reveals the actual long-term commitments to the public good which activists deliberately cultivate, over decades, in inter-ethnic friendships, in national alliances, and in the lasting networks arising from ideologically motivated movements of students and other youth. What Yarrow's analysis shows at the heart of the new cosmopolitanism is, in a word, daring ..A remarkable study.' -Richard Werbner, Emeritas Professor of Anthropology, University of Manchester, UK

'Do you ever hesitate between trying to change things for the better and giving up hope? If so, read this book. It will not help you to decide, but holds wise lessons about how to live with the tension.' - Annemarie Mol, Professor of Anthropology of the Body, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands

'Yarrow's book is a fresh and exciting contribution. The booming literature on African development and NGOs often disappoints in its failure to get beyond externalities and structures. Development beyond Politics is an intellectually sophisticated exploration of Ghanaian lives and voices within the politics and processes of development. It has innovative argument, suggestive comparative perspective and sureness of judgment. I expect this book to command a wide audience in African, development and NGO studies, and to stimulate readers far beyond these fields. I warmly commend a book that is genuinely original in its approach and argument. This is first-rate stuff.' - T.C. McCaskie, Professor of the History of Africa, School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, UK


Contents

Introduction: Development, Public Culture and Africa
PART I: IDEOLOGY
The Politics of Charity
Taking Development Personally
Personal Relations, Public Debates
PART II: KNOWLEDGE
Local and Global
Indigenous and Western
Policy and Practice
Conclusion: What is to be done?
References


Authors

THOMAS YARROW is Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography at Bangor University, UK. He has undertaken ethnographic research on a range of subjects including Ghanaian NGOs, the Volta Resettlement project and the interface between archaeology and anthropology. He has theoretical interests in development, globalization, public culture, space and place.