What if development agencies and researchers are not driven by policy? Suppose that the things that make for 'good policy' - policy that legitimises and mobilises political support - in reality make it impossible to implement?
By focusing in detail on the unfolding activities of a development project in western India over more than ten years, as it falls under different policy regimes, this book takes a close look at the relationship between policy and practice in development. David Mosse shows how the actions of development workers are shaped by the exigencies of organisations and the need to maintain relationships rather than by policy; but also that development actors work hardest of all to maintain coherent representations of their actions as instances of authorised policy. Raising unfamiliar questions, Mosse provides a rare self-critical reflection on practice, while refusing to endorse current post-modern dismissal of development.
David Mosse is Professor of Social Anthropology at SOAS, University of London. He is author of The Rule of Water (Oxford University Press, 2003), Cultivating Development (Pluto, 2004) and The Aid Effect (Pluto, 2005).
Acknowledgements Glossary and abbreviations 1. Introduction: The Ethnography of Policy and Practice 2. Framing a Participatory Development Project 3. Tribal Livelihoods and the Development Frontier 4. The Goddess and the PRA: Local Knowledge and Planning 5. Implementation: Regime and Relationships 6. Consultant Knowledge 7. The Social Production of Development Success 8. Aid Policy and Project Failure 9. Aspirations for Development 10. Conclusions and Implications Bibliography Index