Magazine article New Internationalist

The Critical Villager: Beyond Community Participation // Review

Magazine article New Internationalist

The Critical Villager: Beyond Community Participation // Review

Article excerpt

Supporting 'development' seems more suspect than ever. Look at the large number of successes on paper which are in reality mediocre projects with little influence on people's lives; or arguments about the paternalism and implicit racism of aid.

Eric Dudley's book is enlightened and chastening as it charts a considered path through the problems related to aid intervention. His analysis is direct and he often asks the kinds of questions that get ignored because they seem too obvious. Building upon a well - focused critique of development he calls for greater honesty and an abandonment of the 'covert imposition of values behind the jargon of empowerment'. The aid worker, he says, should 'openly declare beliefs and argue for them'.

The hazy principle that "the people" are always right is not only irrational, it is also patronizing. …

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