This book considers how the personal and the professional dimensions are related, and how they matter for aid work. The contributions to this edited volume are based on the assumption that all actors are relevant in development, including national and international aid workers. A key question which the book explores is why the personal so often remains un-acknowledged in development studies, even though its salience for aid workers is well-documented. One possible reason is an implicit narrative of aid work as altruistic and self-sacrificing, which renders it inappropriate to devote much attention to the experiences of development professionals themselves. In order to redress this, this book critically considers the kind of difference they make, and aims to understand how they respond to the challenges of their work. The book explores their efficacy as human beings and employees with individual subjectivities, social and cultural beliefs and practices, and documents how these shape their involvement in development processes.
This book was published a sa special issue of Third World Quarterly.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: The Personal and the Professional: Aid workers’ relationships and values in the development process 2. Fellow Travellers in Development 3. Befriending the Field: culture and friendships in development worlds 4. Aid Relations and Aid Legitimacy: mutual imaging of aid workers and recipients in Nepal 5. Professionalisation Trends and Inequality: experiences and practices in aid relationships 6. ‘Living Well’ while ‘Doing Good’? (Missing) debates on altruism and professionalism in aid work 7. ‘Struggling to Do the Right Thing’: challenges during international volunteering 8. Is the Non-unitary Subject a Plausible and Productive Way to Understand Development Bureaucrats? 9. A Moral Economy? Social interpretations of money in Aidland 10. Effective Aid: the poetics of some aid workers’ angles on how humanitarian aid ‘works’
Anne-Meike Fechter is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of Sussex. She has previously studied corporate expatriates (Transnational Lives: Expatriates in Indonesia, 2007); her current work focuses on aid workers as mobile professionals. She is co-editor of Inside the Everyday Lives of Development Workers: The Futures and Challenges of Aidland (2011).