Far-Fetched Facts: A Parable of Development Aid (Inside Technology)

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Five decades of development aid or "development cooperation," as it is now sometimes known have yielded disappointing results. Rottenburg looks in particular at the role of the development consultant often called upon to act as mediator between the other actors and at the interstitial spaces where developmental cooperation actually occurs.

He argues that both critics and practitioners of development often misconstrue the grounds of cooperation-which, he claims, are moral, legal, and political rather than techno-scientific or epistemological. Reviews " Far-Fetched Facts is a fascinating and thoughtful ethnographic analysis of developmental relations between the rich countries in the north and the poor countries in the south. Richard Rottenburg organizes his parabola of development aid around the central conflict of interests: The book combines ethnographic observation and critical reflection in an ideal fashion.

Far-fetched facts : a parable of development aid

It is a new departure for cultural anthropology and for science and technology studies, and both fields will be richer for his crossing of the boundaries between them. Restoring cultural difference to the center stage of modernity, he offers a fresh, and refreshing, perspective on old problems for a new century. Rottenburg's in-depth ethnography of how development aid is accomplished and justified through its paper trails is a significant contribution to the Anthropology of Organizations in the globalized landscape.

The book's illumination of these complex dynamics should be required reading for practitioners and theorists alike. Its modest objectives are bothrefreshing and realized. Sociologists of knowledge, anthropologists of science and technology,students of development, and historians of technology will all learn from this challenging andstimulating volume.

Development Aid: A New Course for STS - Wesley Shrum,

Based on his ethnographic research, Rottenburg writes a series of lucid and entertaining accounts of the work of various fictionalized characters trying to improve the municipal water supply in an African country. These stories are the grist for his sophisticated and provocative reflections on the nature of translation and the power of representation more generally.

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