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Showing posts from January, 2015

A journey to the dark heart of nameless unspeakable evil (book review)

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This is one of the strangest books I have come across so far reading and reviewing expat-written accounts on work and live ‘in development’ in the broadest sense.

Unfortunately, by ‘strange' I don’t mean ‘strangely entertaining’, I mean ‘not good’. “contractors” usually means builders out here in Britain. I genuinely thought Blackwater was a firm of painter-decorators. That’s rotten. You go out there to rebuild some schools and someone does that (being dragged to the streets of Fallujah) to you. Maybe they painted over the light switches. Remind me never to get Blackwater to decorate my house (p.37). As difficult and almost physical pain-inducing as typing this quote already is, it is necessary to get at least a vague idea of the world of words of celebrity-turned-Sunday-Times-journalist Jane Bussmann.

In a forthcoming blog post I mention that I don’t usually review bad books, but reading A journey to the dark heart of nameless unspeakable evil-Charities, Hollywood, Joseph Kony an…

Links & Contents I Liked 135

Hi all,

A new semester just started and by-way of welcoming our new students, I am sharing a fresh link list with a lot of food for thought relevant for our ComDev program.

Development news on how aid for Haiti only traveled to beltway bank accounts; a better model of how extractive industries can be involved in development; Tony Blair still lacks a moral compass; how to engage with fragile cities; selected listicles on 2015 debates; new excellent aid work(er) career advice;
Our digital lives with fantastic critiques on the Humans of New York hype, tech firms & teenagers and data-driven humanism. In Academia, a great review essay on ethnography, international courts and 'transitional justice' & reflections on how bibliometrics damage science publishing.

Enjoy!

New from aidnography

Chasing Misery (book review)
Chasing Misery is a mature, well-written and –edited anthology that represents many of the aspects that make aid work(er) literature important and powerful.
Whether yo…

Chasing Misery (book review)

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Chasing Misery has quickly become one of my favorite books in the aid worker reflections and autobiographical writings on humanitarian work department. The main reason is that the book achieves something rare for anthologies: After the first few reflections/chapters you feel that you are included in an interesting conversation, maybe hanging out with a group of friends on a weekend, listening to real, sad, enlightening stories from the lives and work of expat aid workers. In the words of editor Kelsey Hoppe:
Chasing Misery is an anthology of essays and photographs from 26 women involved in humanitarian responses. All of the women contributed their observations and insights from their experiences of humanitarian aid work over the past decade. Contributors come from a variety of countries-from Yemen to Australia-and most still work in either humanitarian aid or development around the globe.
"What motivates any of us to do the work we do? And more importantly does that work make a d…

Links & Contents I Liked 134

Hi all,

Happy New Year! My first link review in 2015-and spending the holidays at home helped to collect a great variety of 2014 reflections, new stuff & the usual potpourri of readings that may be worthwhile to catch up with as the working machine is hopefully slowly getting into gear!
Development news features some critical articles around buzzwords of the development hype cycle, including open data, behavioral economics and social entrepreneurism; more critical reflections on Canadian mining in Peru; the black hole of gender-related USAID spending in Afghanistan and the dissolution of Invisible Children in Uganda; Digital lives features algorithmic filter bubbling and a review of 2014 social media research; a bit more comprehensive than usual (academics use the holidays to write?!) the Academia section: On the evolution of academic blogging and the curious cases of academic publisher profits and the role of 'the book'; bringing 'maker pedagogy' to the classroom an…