17/03/2021 – GTD Colloquium by Dr Jamie Doucette

The title of the talk is: The political economy of (in)coherence: Development narratives, Anxious practitioners, and Asian emerging donors. For more information and the link please click here.

This talk examines the politics of expertise within the field of international development cooperation by interrogating the development narratives of one important Northeast Asian donor, South Korea. Long regarded as a paragon of a successful ‘developmental state,’ Korea has recently sought to satisfy demand for its developmental expertise through the production and circulation of policy narratives that guide its assistance programs. While these narratives resonate with claims made about the role of East Asian states in the academic literature by their often-celebratory tone, they also depart from it in terms of the nature of the prescriptions they make. Moreover, the anxiety and ambivalence that practitioners feel about these narratives belie many of the claims that developmental state theorists have made about rationality of elite planning bureaucracies. This presentation argues that according attention to the emotions that accompany these development narratives, and that raise concerns about their (in)coherence, provides a novel means to understand the complex political and economic relations that animate contemporary development assistance.