Culture

African Philosophy

by David Week on 15 February 2016

Yesterday, I listened to an interview with Katrin Flikschuh of the London School of Economics. Brilliant. Wonderful. It was as if a door opened on a new universe. I’ve been working in international development since 1978. In the late 1980s I began to realise that there was something amiss in our standard cultural understanding of […]

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It’s the elites, stupid

by David Week on 08 August 2011

Aid-bashing I’ve spent most of my professional life working in the Pacific and Asia, and have only recently been invited to participate in a couple of projects in Africa. As a result, I’ve started to pay more attention to what’s happening in Africa, and I’m astonished to see the aid-bashing seems to be a popular […]

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Three Cups of Skywalker

by David Week 6 August 2011

The furore around l’affaire Mortenson has died down. At its height, opinion and speculation filled the blogosphere. Some hoped Mortenson would make it through the flames. Some wrote of how he had inspired them to care. Others pointed out that his development model, based around school construction, was bad from day one; that anthropologists had […]

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The new colonial architecture

by David Week 15 June 2011

I saw today a picture of a school in Cambodia, designed by Finnish architects. It is very nice looking. It photographs very well. It will be picked up and circulated widely in the architectural press, online and off. Without doubt. You can see more here. In the comments box, I wrote this: This is artistically […]

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Difference, respect and money

by David Week 6 May 2011

Don’t be tolerated Tales from the Hood recently wrote a post about tolerance. It begins: I remember several months ago sitting in the Karachi airport McDonald’s chatting with @ayeshahasan about the foreigners who go to Pakistan and try to blend in by wearing a salwar kameez… and asks, mid-stream: How do you know that your […]

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Eugene Smith, Albert Schweitzer, moral dilemmas, local knowledge

by David Week 27 January 2011

Eugene Smith I’m in Amsterdam, and yesterday I went with my daughter, and with a friend, to see a Eugene Smith exhibition at FOAM, Amsterdam’s photographic museum. Eugene Smith was an American photojournalist who documented WW2, and later worked for Life, and for Magnum. Some of his photographs are iconic, and you may recognise them: […]

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Crossing the Streams

by David Week 12 December 2010

In “Aid as a conversation between cultures”, I recounted my early experiences in understanding aid as a two-way exchange, rather than a one-way flow. This paper, from 1993, was my first attempt, together with Howard Davis, to put that understanding in writing. On re-reading, I now see this paper as representing an important first step: […]

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Aid as a conversation between cultures

by David Week 12 December 2010

A few days ago, I posted this statement on twitter: “In my ideal world, aid is a conversation between cultures, on the subject of human development in both cultures.” A few of my fellow twitterers picked up on this idea: @debelzie @BonnieKoenig @meowtree @Ethnicsupplies @warisara @idealistnyc One exchange that stays in mind was this: @idealistnyc […]

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Marilyn Waring is someone you should know

by David Week 5 December 2010

Marilyn Waring At last, thanks to the National Film Board of Canada, this classic doco on my favourite feminist economist is now available for viewing online. In 1975, at the age of 23, she became the youngest MP in the New Zealand Parliament. As a member of the National Party, she famously (or infamously) crossed the […]

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“Smart Aid”: A cautionary note

by David Week 24 November 2010

Thanks to Good Intentions for inspiring this post, which started life as a comment. I have some qualms about the very idea of “smart aid”. It seems to imply that this is something new, while all has been done in the past is “dumb aid”. I think of the development of aid (the development of “development”?) […]

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Questioning our poverty prejudices

by David Week 28 September 2010

Examining our own preconceptions MJ, in a comment here, says: It may be that they actually are happier than city slickers in Sydney, but your experiences do not amount to very much evidence. It’s true that my experience does not amount to evidence, but my experience did lead me to start looking very carefully at […]

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The trouble with “empowerment”

by David Week 5 August 2010

When I did my PhD, it took me 10 years. Part of the reason for that was just me, and part was the fact that I was working full time in development while doing it. But part of it too was the fact that I radically changed topics mid-stream. I became interested in hermeneutics, which […]

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