Monitoring Movements in Development Aid
Recursive Partnerships and Infrastructures
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The MIT Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
As is always the case, this book is the result of many kinds of conversations
with many different people.
For their critical and constructive comments at workshops at Osaka University, at the University of Copenhagen, and at the IT University of Copenhagen, we thank our colleagues in the Environmental Infrastructures research project: Anders Blok, Shuhei Kimura, Atsuro Morita, Osamu...
This is a book about emerging aid information infrastructures constructed to enhance modes of creating accountability and of ensuring effectiveness in aid development. It is about technologies developed to monitor organizations, practices, or projects involved in aid and to make information accessible and transparent to a broad range of global users. It is also about...
1. Infrastructures and Development Aid: Fields, Fractals, and Frictions
Infrastructures are crucial to the operations of modern society and its organizations. They are also tricky analytical objects. The historian of technology Paul Edwards reminds us that infrastructure was originally a military term designating “fixed facilities” (2003, 186). Infrastructure was seen as the basis on which, or the means by which, a society or an organization...
2. Recursions: Partnerships, Infrastructure, and Ethnography
In the previous chapter, we made note of the fact that the notion of partnership emerged at a particular historical moment, crystallizing in the Pearson report. (See Power 2003, 132.) The Pearson report conceptualized aid in terms of partnership. Although at the time “partnership” referred mostly to governments, the report also had profound implications for how people...
3. Inventive Frontiers: Aid Information Infrastructures and Their Users
Development aid is continuously changing its policies and concepts, yet many argue that it continues to fail to meet its goals—to build infrastructures, modernize, alleviate poverty, ensure gender inclusion and equity, and so forth. (See, e.g., Easterly 2006.) Why this is the case (and, indeed, whether this is the case) has been a subject of academic and policy discussions...
4. Development Loop: Technological Politics for Transparency
In the preceding chapter we characterized the AidData conference in Oxford as a diagnostic event. It offered us an entry point from which to begin tracing the contours of the aid transparency movement, and it allowed us to characterize its emerging publics. Among the half-imagined, half-real users making up this constituency we identified several figures, among them the...
5. Weedy Infrastructure: Monitoring Environmental Partnerships
In previous chapters we described some inventive initiatives that aim to create better platforms for knowledge about aid activities and projects— knowledge that is meant to be beneficial not only to aid organizations but also to policy makers and to various publics. A study of these endeavors, however, didn’t get us in touch with any actual aid development projects...
6. Wormholes: Loops of Auditing and Learning
How is the monitoring work carried out by the National Audit Office in central Copenhagen related to the monitoring work of NatureAid? Among other things, the civil servants, the environmentalists and the people living in and around threatened natural reserves are connected through a flow of documentation through which they seek to account for the progress...
7. Monitoring Movements
In this book we have examined the problematic landscape of monitoring in which aid infrastructure, partnership, accountability, and transparency co-evolve. Polymorphous ethnographic engagement with monitoring practices has been central to this endeavor. Thus, we have aimed to characterize ways in which new ontologies of aid emerge through monitoring and...