Profession

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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Democratic accountability

by David Week on 21 June 2014

This was originally published as a comment on this page. If you look at all the political economy of the aid industry, you’ll find that most NGOs and aid researchers are today servants of government. (Disclosure: me too.) Most of these governments—even those traditionally Labor or Social Democrat—now operate under a neoliberal intellectual regime. Most […]

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Beyond moralising about “poverty porn” and “profit”

by David Week 25 June 2013

Over on “KM on a dollar a day” Ian Thorpe has posted an argument about The Perils of Fundraising. Though I agree with his arguments against poverty porn, I don’t agree with his solution: that fundraising “follow” mission. This is like companies who think that marketing follows product design, otherwise known as the myth of […]

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The “developing country” double standard

by David Week 14 April 2012

This is a guest post by three authors: Tom Murphy, Carol Gallo and myself. It came from a conversation. Carol put the words together reporting that conversation, below: Once upon a time, David Week read an article in The Washington Post which revealed that Washington lawmakers not only accepted donations from contributors with a stake […]

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QA4D

by David Week 20 November 2011

Okay: we don’t really need yet another of those cutesie “4D = for development” labels, but for a blog post heading, it’s acceptable. In my last post, Fad Surfing in the Development Boardroom, I took issue with those (and there are many) who think that “development” is completely dissociated from the rest of the world. […]

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Reinventing the wheel (all over again)

by David Week 11 September 2011

Because I come to development from a professional background (architecture, and through architecture, project management) I’m familiar with a pre-existing knowledge base that lies outside that industry we call “development”. As a result, I often come across areas of development assistance which appear to me to be reinventions of the wheel—in complete apparent ignorance that […]

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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 moral frame of development research

by David Week 22 July 2011

I’ve been reading a post by Tom Murphy entitled Aid’s God Complex and Bloggers Groupthink. Towards the end of the post, Tom says this: Critics of research will decry the wonky conversations that do not address the issues at hand. Some will say that things need to get done and it is a waste of resources […]

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Who guards the RCT guardians?

by David Week 27 May 2011

I just today read two good posts by @edwardrcarr, outlining a critique of RCTs based on the qual vs quant distinction: The Qualitative Research Challenge to RCT4D: Part 1 and Part 2. I agree with Ed’s points. My beefs are different. The main ones are: RCTs may well measure “if something worked”. But the tacit […]

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Why a slum house is like a factory

by David Week 26 May 2011

Commenting on my post on the $300 house, Yodan said: And yet, David, it seems that in every advanced economy housing does become a commodity and is predominantly produced by big companies, and financed by big banks and savings and loans societies, and that is usually connected with levels of poverty going down significantly. In […]

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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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Gangsters, bullies, liars and thieves

by David Week 7 March 2011

I’m a fan of political correctness. As one wag put it, political correctness is just another word for being polite. If the citizens of Indian have renamed their city Mumbai, I’ll call it Mumbai, not Bombay. I call the ni Vanuatu the ni Vanuatu, not Vanuatans. I don’t refer to adult women as girls, except […]

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