Wondering: What would happen if the people you loved the most lived in slums, refugee camps, war zones... Would it matter? What would change? KOD ------
Overview. In this Update we present three insightful books to help us reflect upon and possibly reconsider some of our beliefs and behaviours related to sustainable development and wellbeing of all people and the planet. In what ways might our assumptions, agendas, and actions (attitudes and assertions too)--including our cherished ones!--reflect real-world realities at best or self-serving rhetoric at worst? How can we learn from the critical thinking of a diverse group of respected colleagues who over the years have wrestled to better understand and help address major issues in their communities, countries, and world?
Here's the lineup of books: --Deconstructing Development Discourse: Buzzwords and Fuzzwords (pdf version available for free download) --40 Critical Thinkers in Community Development (chapters 1-2 available to read for free) --Curtailing Corruption: People Power for Accountability and Justice (pdf version available for free download)
For us, this journey into our "beliefs and behaviours"--as we consider the writings of some incredibly insightful colleagues--is part of an ongoing process. It is fascinating, uncomfortable, challenging, and encouraging. We hope it will be the same for you! And we hope it will truly help make us all better people as we help to make our world a better place!
We finish the Update with two items. The first item is information on Global Integrity Day--9 June 2022. This year's theme is Integrity and Corruption in the Health Sector. It is a practical example too of how critical thinking is needed to responsibly and relevantly engage in "health and wellbeing for all."We encourage you to check it out and participate!The second is Kelly's short "A Reality Check on being a "Non...Wrong way!" See how the word "non" can be used inadvertently or intentionally to define relationships, levels of influence, and even worth.
Wondering: What would happen if all major UN-Civil Society meetings were convened in slums, refugee camps, war zones... Would it matter? What would change? KOD ------
Deconstructing Development Discourse: Buzzwords and Fuzzwords (2010). Edited by Andrea Cornwall and Deborah Eade. “Words make worlds. The language of development defines worlds-in-the-making, animating and justifying intervention in currently existing worlds with fulsome promises of the possible. Wolfgang Sachs contends, ‘development is much more than just a socio-economic endeavour; it is a perception which models reality, a myth which comforts societies, and a fantasy which unleashes passions’ (1992:1). These models, myths, and passions are sustained by development’s ‘buzzwords’. Writing from diverse locations, contributors to this volume critically examine a selection of the words that constitute today’s development lexicon. Whereas those who contributed to Sachs’ 1992 landmark publication The Development Dictionary shared a project of dismantling the edifice of development, this collection is deliberately eclectic in its range of voices, positions, and perspectives. Some tell tales of the trajectories that these words have travelled, as they have moved from one domain of discourse to another; others describe scenes in which the ironie –absurdities, at times–of their usage beg closer critical attention; others still peel off the multiple guises that their words have assumed, and analyse the dissonant agendas that they embrace. Our intention in bringing them together is to leave you, the reader, feeling less than equivocal about taking for granted the words that frame the world-making projects of the development enterprise.” (Introductory Overview, page 1)
Preface--Deborah Eade 1. Introductory overview--Andrea Cornwall 2. Development as a buzzword--Gilbert Rist 3. Words count: taking a count of the changing language of British aid--Naomi Alfini and Robert Chambers 4. Poverty reduction--John Toye 5. Social protection--Guy Standing 6. Globalisation--Shalmali Guttal 7. The F-word & S-word–too much of one and not enough of the other--Cassandra Balchin 8. Participation: the ascendancy of a buzzword in the neo-liberal era--Pablo Alejandro Leal 9. Citizenship: a perverse confluence--Evelina Dagnino 10. Taking the power out of empowerment – an experiential account--Srilatha Batliwala 11. Social capital--Ben Fine 12. Reflections on relationships: the nature of partnership according to five NGOs in southern Mexico--Miguel Pickard 13. Talking of gender: words and meanings in development organisations--Ines Smyth 14. Sustainability--Ian Scoones 15. From the right to development to the rights-based approach: how ‘human rights’ entered development--Peter Uvin 16. Civil society--Neera Chandhoke 17. Public advocacy & people-centred advocacy: mobilising for social change--John Samuel 18. NGOs: between buzzwords and social movements--Islah Jad 19. Capacity building: who builds whose capacity?--Deborah Eade 20. Harmonisation: how is the orchestra conducted?--Rosalind Eyben 21. ‘Country ownership’: a term whose time has gone--Willem H. Buiter 22. Best of practices?--Warren Feek 23. Peacebuilding does not build peace--Tobias Denskus 24. The uncertain relationship between transparency and accountability--Jonathan Fox 25. Corruption--Elizabeth Harrison 26. ‘Good governance’: the itinerary of an idea--Thandika Mkandawire 27. The discordant voices of security--Robin Luckham 28. Fragile states--Eghosa E. Osaghae 29. ‘Knowledge management’: a case study of the World Bank’s Research Department--Robin Broad Coda--Deborah Eade Index
See also: Deconstructing Development Discourse: Buzzwords and Fuzzwords Revisited was a seminar given by Professor Andrea Cornwall, Dr Tania Kaiser & Dr Meera Sabaratnam (SOAS) on 15 January 2019 at the Department of Development Studies, SOAS University of London. Find out more at http://bit.ly/2MYnW4U Why should language matter to those who are doing development? Surely there are more urgent things to do than sit around mulling over semantics? But language does matter. Whether emptied of their original meaning, essentially vacuous or hotly contested, the language of development not only shapes our imagined worlds, but also justifies interventions in real people's lives. If development buzzwords conceal ideological differences or sloppy thinking, then the process of constructive deconstruction makes it possible to re-examine what have become catch-all terms like civil society and poverty reduction, or bland aid-agency terms such as partnership or empowerment. Such engagement is far more than a matter of playing word games but involves how we think of development itself.” (quote from Youtube video description)
40 Critical Thinkers in Community Development (2020). Edited by Peter Westoby, David Palmer, and Athena Lathouras. “Who are the great activists, thinkers and writers who can inspire us in our community development work? Environmentalists, poets, philosophers, civil rights activists, trade unionists – all can help us question the assumptions that underlie our international development practice. This book invites students and professionals of community development and citizen activists to reflect on the roots of their practice and discover the wisdom of writers they may not have heard of before.
The book highlights 40 personal and rigorous reflections, distilling several wisdoms and 40 ‘gems’ of ideas for community development, from thought-leaders including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ela Bhatt, Jacques Derrida, Frantz Fanon, Paulo Freire, bell hooks, John Keats, Rosa Luxemburg, Wangari Maathai, Manfred Max-Neef, Arundhati Roy, E.F. Schumacher, Vandana Shiva, Rabindranath Tagore and Greta Thunbergc
The book’s introduction will support readers in creating a personal practice framework, and a Coda/Map of Practice offers a vibrant visual representation of practice wisdoms in watercolour. 40 Critical Thinkers in Community Development is an important resource for daily or weekly readings and reflections, study groups, working or project teams, and as a resource for teachers of community development.”
The Foreword, Introduction-Chapter 1, and Chapter 2 are available to read HERE -----
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Towards a reflective community Development practice: Integrating the gems and wisdoms of critical thinkers 2. Jane Addams: Practice mutual accompaniment 3. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story 4. Hannah Arendt: Time to think 5. James Baldwin: We have to go the way our blood beats 6. Homi Bhabha: The value of colonial ambivalence 7. Ela Bhatt: Start with women; may our action be one of nurturance 8. Augusto Boal: Rehearsing the possible 9. Behrouz Boochani: Bearing witness in the face of cruelty 10. Martin Buber: Practice as an encounter 11. Judi Chamberlin: Nothing About Us, Without Us 12. Angela Davis: Unlock the gates of poverties and prisons 13. Jacques Derrida: Deconstruction, a community development ‘yet-to-come’ and ‘the hauntology of justice’ 14. Gustavo Esteva: The work of deprofessionalizing ourselves 15. Frantz Fanon: A ‘revolution in listening’ 16. Paulo Freire: Start with the people, but don’t stay with the people 17. Mary Graham: ‘Place method’ and custodians of land 18. Epeli Hau’ofa: staying close to the ground 19. James Hillman: ‘Ensouling the world’ and notitia 20. bell hooks: We come to theory because of our pain 21. Myles Horton: Educators first, Organizers second 22. John Keats: Negative capability and coming into a community 23. George Lakoff: Don’t think of an elephant! 24. Rosa Luxemburg: Are you willing to go to prison? 25. Wangari Maathai: Plant trees and protect genuine democracy 26. Joanna Macy: ‘life comes from reconnecting’ 27. Manfred Max-Neef: Poverties, not poverty 28. Chandra Talpade Mohanty: Pay attention to silence and erasure 29. Fran Peavey: Questions are the art of gentle revolution 30. Arundhati Roy: ‘… do not fragment solidarity …’ 31. Deborah Bird Rose: Community as the ’shimmer of life’ 32. Bertrand Russell: Community and the value of idleness 33. E.F. Schumacher: Small is Beautiful 34. Richard Sennett: Respect 35. Vandana Shiva: Be a Seed Saver 36. Georg Simmel: The importance of the triad and the stranger in making ‘community’ 37. Linda Tuhiwai Smith: Listening to old knowledge 38. Rabindranath Tagore: … discovering the invitation … 39. Thich Nhat Hanh: Being, not doing 40. Greta Thunberg: Work where there’s desire and political motivation 41. Trinh T. Minh-ha: Recognizing difference in community 42. Conclusion Coda – map of practice
See also: Editors Interview (3 June 2020). "40 Critical Thinkers highlights 40 personal and rigorous reflections, distilling several wisdoms and 40 ‘gems’ of ideas for community development, from thought-leaders...Hear the authors discuss the purpose of book, how the book could be used, and the educational aims of the ideas within it. The authors also share their favourite gems of wisdom from the book that they carry with them in their work." (quote from Youtube video description)
Curtailing Corruption: People Power for Accountability and Justice (2014). Shaazka Beyerle.“Little did I know in August 2004 that a trip to Ankara, Turkey, would change the course of my professional life. The setting was the New Tactics in Human Rights Symposium, organized by the ever-innovative Center for Victims of Torture. While speaking on a panel discussion, “Mass Actions for Public Participation,” a fellow panelist riveted all of us in the room. He told us about a campaign in Turkey in 1997 that mobilized an estimated 30 million people—yes, 30 million—to fight endemic corruption and linkages between crime syndicates, arms traffickers, the state, the private sector, and the media. The campaign was the One Minute of Darkness for Constant Light, and the speaker was Ersin Salman, one of its founders.
I returned home inspired and intrigued. Here was an astounding case of people power that had gone unnoticed—in the international media, in the civil resistance realm, and in anticorruption circles. Regular people mobilized, truly en masse, not to oust a dictator or occupier but to expose, shake up, and begin to change a rotten system of graft, abuse, and impunity. How peculiar, it seemed at the time, that a campaign targeting malfeasance was highlighted at, of all places, a human rights conference. I wondered if the One Minute of Darkness for Constant Light was a rarity, or were more campaigns and movements targeting corruption going on in other parts of the world? My sense was that this case represented only the tip of the iceberg. Thus began a journey— yielding discoveries, knowledge, inspiration, and rich lessons about civil resistance and people power.” (Introduction, page 1)
See also: Disrupting Corruption: People Power to Gain Accountability(webinar 4 February 2011). “Shaazka Beyerle is a writer and educator on people power and strategic nonviolent action and a Senior Advisor with [International Center on Nonviolent Conflict]. This webinar explores how empowered citizens are engaging in civil resistance to curb graft and abuse. Corruption is intimately linked to violence, human insecurity, and oppression. For the everyday person, this means the denial of basic freedoms and rights. In virtually every part of the world over the past 15 years, citizens are proving that they are not passive onlookers of elite-driven corruption. Rather, they are drivers of accountability, reform and participatory democracy. The webinar will: identify the limitations of top-down, technical approaches to combating corruption and; present successful cases of citizen empowerment through nonviolent campaigns.” (quote from the Youtube video description)
Announcing the Third Global Integrity Day! Applied Integrity--Informed Action
“Global Integrity Day (GID), launched on 9 June 2020, is a positive day to reflect, teach, and collaborate on ways to integrate integrity in all we do throughout the entire year. The initial theme for this Day (2020) was Confronting the Corruption of Racism. How can we positively impact racism by loving truth, peace, and people? The 2021 theme was Corruption and Poverty. How can multi-dimensional probity (integrity at a levels, individual--institutional--international) help to curtail corruption's devastating role in multi-dimensional poverty?
--GID is a strategic day to promote a) cultivating lifestyles, cultures, and systems of integrity from the individual through the international levels; b) joining together to understand and address the causes and consequences of corruption in its many forms; and c) working towards just and equitable societies marked with wellbeing for all people and for the planet.
--GID is a solemn day to consider our ways: if we are lying and/or stealing in any way big or small, then we need to stop it. If we need to right a wrong we have done, then do so. If we need to prudently confront wrongdoing, preferably in solidarity with colleagues for mutual support and greater impact, then do so.
GID is a companion day to complement UN International Anti-Corruption Day, 9 December (and vice versa). Both Days are rallying points, six months apart, for organizing events, sharing initiatives, and involving the public.”
--A Day in the News, 20 January 2022: Three examples from mainstream international news sources that reflect the multi-faceted and intertwining nature of both integrity and corruption --The World We Want: Actions Towards a Sustainable, Fairer, and Healthier Society. A Short-film Trilogy, produced byPeople’s Health Movement (PHM) --Corruption Perceptions Index 2021 (25 January 2022). Transparency International.
Final Thoughts A Reality Check on Being a “Non” Engagement withnon-State Actors Wrong Way!
I hope this is nota tangential distraction but I would like to tap into my background as a psychologist in order to remind us how the use of terms can disempower (maintain power imbalances) and marginalise (minimise inclusion) people and groups.
The case in point is the almost ubiquitous, entrenched, and unquestioned use of the term in English "non" in international discourse. For example---non-Westerners, non--governmental organizations, non-state actors and other non-sense designations.
Practically it is about conveniently defining others by what they are not. And psychologically it is about feeling more secure inside by referring to others as "non-us"--"those guys." We all do this to an extent of course, especially in terms of the in-groups and out-groups that we categorise as part of our own views of the world.
On a curious whim, I googled “non” and found this result among many: 'What is meant by non? 1: not: other than: reverse of: absence of nontoxic nonlinear. 2: of little or no consequence: unimportant: worthless nonissues nonsystem.' Not so nice, I thought.
This wee but potentially potent and demeaning word can inadvertently or intentionally define relationships, levels of influence, and even worth. And so it can be with regards to non-state actors.
Non here is not simply used as a functional-linguistic "just the etymological way it is" necessity. And from my perspective, this concern is neither about parsing words nor ranting or raving while riding a hobby horse on behalf of some new cause.Rather it is in its core the wrong way--and often amorally wrong way which props up inequality.
But my main question in all of this really is this: Why on earth do people tolerate being referred to asnons?
I am however totally fine with being respectfully referred to as a non-state actor who is part of a non-governmental organisation provided that my government-related colleagues in government-related organisations are fine with being respectfully referred to as non-civil society actors in non-civil society organisations. Fair enough. But better yet, let's stop going the wrong way!
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