Showing posts from February, 2013

Links & Contents I Liked 65

Dear all,

Another week is coming to an end and some interesting readings have found there way into my Inbox...after a reminder that the debate on unpaid internships in development is far from over yet and an interesting article with background information on conflict & peace in Mali, the 'theme' for this week is about the future of the humanitarian system - complete with drones, civil-military cooperation and new non-Western donors. Reflections on the use of open development data, reflexivity and a new autobiography of a great woman Nobel Peace Prize laureate round off the development section. 'Designing for Stories' is a recommended read on how to make participatory exercises better designed and more engaging. Last not least, two essays on neoliberal reforms in higher education in Australia & the UKare featured in the academic section!


New on aidnography
Are journals hindering creative academic writing & engagement with research?
The focus on‘open access…

Are journals hindering creative academic writing & engagement with research?

tl;dr (for those who find blog posts on academic publishing too long)
The focus onopen access publishing’ and ‘better academic writing’ may be overrated when it comes to fostering creative writing, public engagement with research or finding cures to eradicate poverty because the commodity of academic journal articles has limited value outside a relatively narrow circle of academic insiders.
In addition to advocating for more open access publishing we should think outside the box of a particular written genre to ensure that the goals we envision to achieve are truly met in today’s digital world.
And sometimes not publishing another article at all can be the part of the solution, too...

For quite some time now, there has been a debate in the academic sphere about the future of academic journal article publications that more or less focuses on questions around access, namely on publishing these articles under various ‘open access’ options. Aaron Swartz was maybe the most prominent activi…

Links & Contents I Liked 64

Hello all,

This was definitely a good week for the blogging just so happens that two interesting themes emerged: First, Harvard scholar Carol Vance kicks off an interesting discussion on how students and researchers should engage with the world they have set out to change; her case is the Policy Task Force that has been convened to advice India in the aftermath of the recent gang rape and murder case, but most of her argument is also very relevant for most other 'development' topics. A post from the blog of the American Anthropological Association on science and advocacy and another on the challenges of academic promotion systems and community engagement open up a broader debate on how academics can and should engage with students, deal with their aspirations and at the same time commit to meaningful and participatory engagement with local communities...Second, there's quite a lot on 'communication' in this week's review, featuring a great article on…

Understanding development (book review)

It may be a bit unusual to put a disclaimer at the beginning of a review, but I have the privilege to approach the review of Understanding Development as a bit more than just a reader: Not only do I know the author Paul Hopper from a previous teaching job at Brighton University, but more importantly, while he was finalizing the manuscript, I used some the draft chapters and ‘field tested’ them in an introductory course on international development for undergraduate students.
For most of them this was their first academic exposure to international development topics and this is clearly where the core strength of the book lies: It is a very good, but also basic starting point into ‘understanding development’ and it will probably be most useful for undergraduate courses or in teaching environments where students have little or no background in this area.
But let’s have a more detailed look at the book: Each chapter is written in accessible language and focuses on fairly factual overviews…

3 reasons why I didn’t blog on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

Yes, the debate on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition issue showed up in my facebook and Twitter newsfeeds and some friends even sent me direct messages with links to critical comments and analysis. None of this will be linked or featured in this post which is an attempt to ‘not write’ on this issue.
While I totally agree that the approach reinforces bad stereotypes and may even be racist there are three basic issues why I resisted engaging with the debate so far:

Web traffic doesn’t care whether you are a critical anthropological gender expert
In the brutal reality of the 21st century attention-fueled economy web traffic, clicks, mentions, hashtags are part of the media reality – and they are primarily driven by abstract numbers. When the Huffington Post claims that SI is ‘getting a lot of buzz for the wrong reasons’ and then include a 52 image series ‘Relive past Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issuesyou are essentially learning a lesson in media hypocrisy.
What SI has achieved is …

Links & Contents I Liked 63

Hello all,

This week, the highlights of the link review are distributed evenly across the three sections: In Development there are interesting debates on 'Generation Z' & HR, the ethics and value of 'big data' and why policy-makers like to embrace 'uncertainty' unless they actually have to make a decision...This month's Himal Mag features an article from Sri Lanka that reminds peace researchers that violence often affects 'post-conflict' societies in many different ways than the actual war; in Anthropology there's a very interesting essay on Napoleon Chagnon and the long-lasting debates around his research on the Yanomami tribeand how it has kept the discipline busy over many years; and in Academia the Thesis Whisperer asksthe provocativequestion whether 'academic assholes' are calling the shots and whether 'circles of niceness' can be a counterweight.


New on aidnography
WhyDev guest post: The state of HR in development w…