Challenges of development in difficult sociopolitical contexts

Kingsbury, Damien 2014, Challenges of development in difficult sociopolitical contexts. In Ware, Anthony (ed), , Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Eng., pp.48-67, doi: 10.1057/9781137347633.

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Title Challenges of development in difficult sociopolitical contexts
Author(s) Kingsbury, DamienORCID iD for Kingsbury, Damien
Editor(s) Ware, AnthonyORCID iD for Ware, Anthony
Publication date 2014
Series Rethinking international development
Chapter number 3
Total chapters 14
Start page 48
End page 67
Total pages 20
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Place of Publication Basingstoke, Eng.
Keyword(s) Social Sciences
Planning & Development
Public Administration
Summary In the middle of writing this chapter, I visited a friend who has beenin the development industry for a couple of decades. I had not seenhim for a while as he had been in Afghanistan and, for a considerableperiod after that, in hospital. Afghanistan has arguably been the mostdangerous place in the world to do development work, perhaps since the1960s, and, of course, undertaking development while a war is ongoingis almost a contradiction in terms. Especially in Afghanistan, butperhaps in many other ‘difficult sociopolitical contexts’, developmentgains have been few, extraordinarily expensive for their outcomes, andprobably not sustainable.Not all development workers end up in my friend’s situation; a suicidebomber left him substantially and permanently damaged. But, juston this personal level, I have had colleagues and friends arrested, shotat, jailed and kidnapped, as well as being exposed to dangerous illnessesand, too often unstated, often long-term psychological trauma. Localswhom colleagues have worked with have experienced all this, as well asbeing beaten, tortured and, too often, killed. My own first rule in ‘difficultsociopolitical contexts’ is never to expose another person to danger,either at the time or, potentially, later. Yet it happens, to foreigners, tolocals working with foreigners and to state employees. Developmentworkers easily fall foul of the extremes of competing perspectives andgoals, where there is no such thing as neutrality and everyone who isnot a clear friend is a clear enemy.
ISBN 9781137347626
Language eng
DOI 10.1057/9781137347633
Field of Research 160607 International Relations
Socio Economic Objective 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society
HERDC Research category B1.1 Book chapter
Copyright notice ©2014, The Author
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