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Hello all,

I just finished my Warrior Princess review so this week's link review is a tad bit late, but it was worth the extra time!
New resources and literature (the end of PLA notes?!); conflict & Canadian mining; how much EU money disappeared in DRC? How to avoid poverty p@rn? Can Ladakhis save the world? TOMS shoes and spiritual neoliberalism; and more on being a good development blogger, planning your career, be a respectful male academic & the limitations of MOOCs.


New on aidnography
Warrior Princess: My Quest to Become the First Female Maasai Warrior (book review)
Despite all this criticism it would be too easy to simply dismiss Mindy and her adventure as a selfish self-marketing ploy; whether ‘we’ like it or not, Warrior Princess is somewhat of a mirror of popular representations of development and the complexities of empowerment between changing tribal cultures and ‘Oprahfying’ the experiences in the fast food culture of books, speaking engagements and business schools case studies with the quest to find the ‘inner self’ of Generation 2.0.


digital culture has co-opted the language of revolution and magic without the muscle, ethics, conviction, or imagination of either
Tools for supporting sustainable natural resource management and livelihoods (PLA 66)
This 66th issue of Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) includes general articles on participatory approaches to development submitted by readers and explores the links between participation, sustainable natural resource management and improving livelihoods
The PLA series is 25 years old this year and at this milestone, IIED is taking stock to look at PLA’s legacy and future direction. After this issue, the series will be put on hold, pending the findings from an external evaluation.
Is this going to be the end of one of development's traditional flagship publications...or has publishing changed so significantly that PLA notes need to be re-invented?!

Gender and Social Movements
Welcome to the BRIDGE Gender and Social Movements website. This exciting online resource is an innovative new way of bringing the latest Cutting Edge Pack to you. You'll also find a range of extra multimedia materials on the topic.
Great new website from IDS' BRIDGE team.

Citizens Rising The Book
From the fall of the Soviet Union to the Arab Spring to today’s continuing conflicts, media have played a decisive role in political affairs across the globe—driving the revolutionary changes shaping today’s new world. This is the first book presenting a comprehensive look at the emergence of media as a primary actor, and not merely an observer, of global affairs.
Another interesting book that I want to add to my ever-growing reading list...

Has neo-liberal thinking colonised the voluntary sector?
Entitled ’To what extent is the voluntary sector colonised by neo-liberal thinking?’, the paper examines the involvement of the voluntary sector in the dismantling of the welfare state, the largely silent response of the mainstream sector ‘leadership’ towards these changes, and the growing acceptance of voluntary agencies to act as sub-contractors to global corporations. Lastly she revisits ideas about ‘public-ness’ as a basis for re-thinking the proper role of the voluntary sector in 21st Century Britain.
Interesting paper that goes further than just the UK's voluntary sector.

The Dark Side of Consumerism: What Landfills and Nursing Homes Taught These Indian Villagers
In addition to experiencing firsthand the side of consumerism that rarely gets shown on TV, reality tours were the perfect catalyst to connect Ladakhis' traditional cultural and economic values with growing alternative movements in the West. "We really wanted to show them how things like organic food, local community, holistic health care, and natural materials were valued in the marketplace," Norberg-Hodge says, "because this is what the Ladakhis already had." If they could see how their traditional ways were becoming not only more and more attractive and popular but lucrative in the West, it would drive home the message that rather than considering themselves backward and old-fashioned, they could play a role at the vanguard of a new global sustainability movement.
While they are astounded by the amount of stuff that is thrown away, Norberg-Hodge says the visitors are much more affected by people’s lack of free time, the social segregation of old and young, and the anonymity and lack of interaction with neighbors—even in densely populated apartment buildings.
Interesting approach to challenge 'Westernization' of local cultures. It will be difficult, though, to avoid the pitfalls of consumerist capitalism and move towards a 'new global sustainability movement'...

Conflict Dogs Canadian Mining Abroad
For a company keen to keep its mine working however, it is clearly tempting instead to portray violence as the endemic, "pre-existing" state of nature in the remote foreign culture where it operates -- neither within its control, nor its responsibility.
Canadian The Tyee explores the complexities of local conflict, violence and (Canadian) mining in a series of excellent journalistic features from Guatemala, Peru and Mexico.

Archbishop Seals 1000s of Human Rights Violations Records Monday in El Salvador
When records of countless Human Rights violations were blocked on orders from Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas suddenly yesterday, many Salvadorans suspected that the move was tied to the recent challenge to the Amnesty. VOCES Digital Journal reports that on Monday morning September 30th thirteen workers at the Legal Tutelage Office arrived at work to find their offices locked and security blocking access to invaluable records dating back to the civil war of the 80s. The workers were fired without any explanation or prior warning.
The legacy and complexities of violent conflict in El Salvador and the difficult trade-off between amnesty and dealing with the past.

DR Congo: Auditors criticise EU's aid
The auditors said: "Fewer than half of the programmes examined have delivered, or are likely to deliver, most of the expected results.
"Sustainability is an unrealistic prospect in most cases."
They criticised the design of EU programmes aimed at developing good governance in DR Congo, saying local risks had not been properly assessed in many cases.
A short, typical item of mainstream news which is nonetheless interesting: First, I find the fact that almost half of the EU's program's have delivered results not bad in a place like DRC. Second, but for how many years have researchers been demanding better localized programming?! EU aid is messy/a mess...

Poverty P*rn: a reflection of deeper issues

The theme of the conference was “Pause and Effect.” My point was that we should pause and think about the long-term effects of these kinds of images and narratives on people we say we are helping, supporting or partnering with. Beyond fundraising, advocacy and branding for our organizations, what is the impact of these narratives? What long-term effects do they have when there is no strong competing narrative or variety of narratives that enable a more complex, nuanced and varied story?
Great new and detailed post by Linda Raftree on how to (re)present poverty and development.

A drama of human progress: the stage is set

The Forum is thus emerging as the key centre of power which will take on added importance as the Open Working Group concludes its business in September 2014. In other words, this is where the deal will be done in 2015. It's important.
Worrying, then, that Mr Ashe described the Forum as starting from a “clean slate” and that the Outcome Document dismissed all of that bottom-up consultation as just a “useful input”. This week also saw several other members of the G77 group of developing countries voicing scepticism and even outright opposition to the idea of including anything related to governance, justice or peace in the next incarnation of a global development agenda. And that reference to peace and stability in the Outcome Document? It was taken out and then negotiated back in again at the last minute.
An interesting analysis of the recent MDG summit in NYC by Chris Underwood.

Switching careers into international development, part 5: what to do if you can’t go unpaid

It’s deeply problematic to imply that only the rich should be able to care about poverty reduction. Increasing the number of (well) paid internships and entry-level positions would improve the situation, but as this seems unlikely to happen any time soon, I’ve laid out some thoughts on how to continue keep earning a salary while switching careers to development.
Rachel Strohm's mini-series on career development in development is a worthwhile read with lots of ideas and links.

TOMS Shoes and the Spiritual Politics of Neoliberalism

Is this religion? Is it politics? Not as such. And Mycoskie would distance himself from such an assertion, avoiding any semblance of sectarianism in favor of a family where all agents have a chance to flourish in the global economy. Yet this is exactly what makes TOMS and its conscious capitalist counterparts so alluring. TOMS consolidates religion and politics under a rubric of benevolent consumption and multicultural belonging—ever on a mission to spread a neoliberal gospel and, on the way, bind up the wounds that it inflicts. It feels amazing.
Great essay on the spiritualism of social entrepreneurial capitalism!

Going social: 10 tips for bloggers

Just for the moment, let’s put aside why you should be blogging and look at the art of blogging itself.
After editing 555 of your posts on Voices of Eurasia, I learned a lot about your work, and am impressed by all of you. I would also like to share what I learned
UNDP blogger Blythe Fraser on the experiences of writing and curating a blog.
However, I do not entirely agree with the tagline of the photo that accompanies the post - 'Blogging - best, or at least very good, if taken internally' - I think that the next frontier for organizational development blogging will be to take internal experiences and apply them to public communication.

Ethnographies from the Future: What can ethnographers learn from science fiction and speculative design?

As ethnographers, it is not enough to describe social reality, to end a project when the last transcripts and field notes have been analyzed and written up. We must find new ways to engage and collaborate with our subjects (both human and nonhuman). We need better ways of turning our descriptive, analytical accounts into those that are prescriptive, and which have greater import in society and policy. We may do this by inhabiting narratives, generating artifacts to think with and engaging more explicitly with the people formerly known as our “informants” as well as with the public at large.
This is not to suggest that every ethnographer should do it all, or that ethnographers are not already traversing the boundaries between analyst, activist and artist. Most likely, our best work will be (and is already being) done in teams where description and analysis can inform design but at the same time, we can innovate within our own skillsets and practices. We can compare across our many field sites and topics and create design fictions that interrogate the issues and themes that come to the fore.
As always, Ethnography Matters is the blog where ethnography matters ;)!


Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Vol 14, No 3
Methodological transgressions in ethnography, governmentality, discourses, co-writing and much more in the latest issue of a great open access journal!

Don’t be that dude: Handy tips for the male academic

Finally, if you do all of the above, don’t expect a cookie. Your efforts may go unacknowledged or even unrecognized much of the time. Keep at it anyway, because you’re not out to get special recognition. You’re doing it because it’s the decent thing to do.
Acclimatrix on how to work on gender equity in your academic institution.

What You Won’t Get Out of a MOOC (Updated)

Rather, this is about the social capital that you acquire by going to a brick-and-mortar college, by which I mean the emotional skills and the social network you gain by being thrown into interacting daily with roughly the same group of similarly intelligent folks for three to four years.
Sure, a MOOC may teach you all about the basics of behavioral economics, but even taking part in a MOOC’s “study group” won’t teach you how to navigate tricky social situations, nor will it give you ready access to a social network of folks with whom you have shared a significant portion of your life.
I think Marc Bellemare and I pretty much agree with one another. From my earlier MOOCs, power relations & the tacit knowledge of academic socialization post:
My reflection will focus on the argument that academic socialization, learning the tacit knowledge that comes with a university education and the powerful ‘soft skills’ happen to a large extent outside the classroom.
More provocatively: Who really remembers their undergraduate lectures and seminars and instead creating networks, participating in social activities from parties to volunteering, maybe meeting their partner and many, many other things from living on one’s own (maybe even abroad) for the first time to seeing academia ‘in action’ as a research or teaching assistant?


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