Forging Modern States with Imperfect Tools: United Nations Technical Assistance for Public Administration in Decolonized States
- Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 2020
- pp. 54-83
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This article examines the UN's programs of technical assistance for public administration as a "technology of stateness" during the postwar period of decolonization. Drawing on original research in the UN Archives, the article shows how these programs connected with a larger network of actors interested in promoting public administration reforms in decolonized states. Additionally, the article analyzes the assemblage of governmental rationalities and technologies advanced by UN technical assistance, finding both a tendency towards the centralization of state power and an effort to decentralize and disarm state bureaucracies. In doing so, the article suggests new lines of research connecting the colonial concept of "good government" to the more recent discourse of "good governance."