| By A. Bebbington and U. Kothari | Published in Environment and Planning A 38(5): 849-866 |
Abstract: Development is embedded in networks that extend across space and time. These networks–maintained, reworked, and given meaning through the practices of the actors who constitute them–bring together assemblages of institutions, knowledges, and commitments that make possible and shape the ways in which development is done through them. The authors explore the usefulness of concepts of network and assemblage for conceptualizing development, elaborating their ideas through two case studies. In the first they discuss colonial officers’ experiences of living and working outside the United Kingdom, the ideas and practices that informed this mode of being, and their influence on the development work they did both in colonial and in postcolonial contexts. In the second they discuss the embeddedness of nongovernmental aid networks in religious, political, and other institutions, and the ways in which these institutions fashion the flows of such aid and the types of intervention linked to it. Though distinct, the two cases each show the ways in which social networks sustain particular intersections between institution, practice, and knowledge in informing development. They also suggest different methodological tactics for exploring these intersections. The nature of these tactics and their implications for producing knowledge about development networks are explored.