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Social Anthropology: Events


Development: Has the Age of Aid Ended?

Development: Has the Age of Aid Ended?
Speaker: Dipak Gyawali # Nepal Academy of Science and Technology
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Date and Time
3rd Feb 2017 11:00 - 3rd Feb 2017 12:30
6th floor Staffroom, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15A George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LD

“Development” became the new religion (“Dharma”) of our times, starting in the late 19th Century and picking up messianic zeal after the Second World War. Although it initially saw competing discourses – and Nepal is a classic case of the presence of almost all these varying approaches from American and Indian to Chinese, Russian and others – by the early 1980s, it had become a Western Development Agencies led “thing”. However, it has been argued that the underlying premise of the “Triumph of the West” in Development, almost coeval with the collapse of the Second World communism, was based on a kind of fatalism, expressed through the philosophy and program of structural adjustment, wherein the inherent belief was that these Third World Countries would never “develop”, that that at best they could be disciplined to pay back exorbitant loans that had been addicted to or had foisted on them. The result has been political upheavals, rise of extremist ideologies and a general sense of drift, MDGs and SDGs notwithstanding. This talk, using the findings in a recent book with the speaker as one of the editors (, will look at the history of the “development industry” in Nepal and its current state. Using Cultural Theory (Theory of Plural Rationalities), it will then go on to argue what a new Age of International Cooperation might have to look like as the procedurally fetishized Age of Aid whimpers towards an ignominious end.

Edinburgh Students