The Kony 2012 video franchise, or: Invisible Children’s latest ‘Move’

It was interesting to watch Oprah’s Next Chapter on Sunday with Jason Russell. As the format suggests, this was all about Jason with a particular focus on his breakdown after the Kony 2012 video went viral and his recovery since. Oprah, always looking for ‘Aha moments’, found it when Jason described how the breakdown may not only have been caused by PTSD, but as a reaction of feeling to self-important, stopping to listen to friends who told him to slow down and wanting to take full advantage of the buzz that the Kony 2012 video had caused within an extremely short amount of time. In short, as always with Oprah’s approach, it was a minimum of critical context and a maximum of emotionalisation – an approach that makes every development enthusiast beam with joy and excitement. The timing of the interview is important as Invisible Children has just launched a new video where they are telling people that making and watching YouTube is not enough to change the world...but let’s not be cyni

Links & Contents I Liked 45

Hello all, Sometimes I wish there were more days to a week...I have been prevented from 'proper' blogging due to some academic publication deadlines and other projects. However, there is always time for the weekly link round-up and I hope there are some interesting stories for you to discover. The short, provocative and very interesting 'Wherever you are, there you can "change the world"' by Daniel Miller (EWB Canada) is one of them. '50 global education leaders you should follow on Twitter' is a good social media starter and there are some good resources on African issues, transitional justice, women and peacebuilding & participatory video engagement-and, as always, there's more... Enjoy! Development Africa Portal's Community of Practice blog The Africa Portal’s Community of Practice blog signals important policy research topics and trends in Africa. Contributors include top researchers and practitioners conducting on-the-ground, field-ba

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Hello all, Welcome to another weekly link review! Guiding questions for this collection: Who won the 'alternative Nobel Prize' this year? Are immersions voluntourism for 'adults' and if so, does it matter? Why does oil wealth always come with so many problems, e.g. in Africa? Which new book on the PhD experience should you check out? Should IR-scholars be the only academics involved in public discourses? Are Development Studies facing the 'perils of law school'? Enjoy! Development The 2012 Right Livelihood Award A very inspiring way to start into the Link review... Voluntourism: What You Need to Know Before Signing up However, it is often difficult to know what you are in for. This post is not intended as a critique of ‘voluntourism’. There are already many out there. Instead, I want to offer a guide for readers who are looking to have similar experiences. Volunteering is activity that should be pursued regularly, but not without a critical understanding of w

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Hello all, This is one of those weeks where scrolling all the way down to an excellent speech by Makerere professor Mahmood Mamdani on the state of research at the university and an excellent documentary on capitalism and creative spaces may offer great intellectual rewards...but don't miss excellent pieces on volunteering challenges, a very sad story about illegal ivory trade and the question whether consultancy work can help to fund your long-term research strategy-especially in the context of underfunded academic systems in the global South. Enjoy the reading, thinking and writing! New on aidnography How the EU is creating the need for humanitarian volunteers The EU wants to spend 239 million Euros (about US$ 312 million) on 10,000 humanitarian volunteers that will be sent to the field from 2014 to 2020 'to volunteer worldwide in humanitarian operations'. Why? Because the project is 'meeting the need for humanitarian volunteers' as the promotional video explai

How the EU is creating the need for humanitarian volunteers

We as academics and bloggers often criticise small projects, organisations or individual initiatives. But one of the unique strategic skills that only people in large aid organisation seem to posses is thinking in big numbers: The EU wants to spend 239 million Euros (about US$ 312 million) on 10,000 humanitarian volunteers that will be sent to the field from 2014 to 2020 'to volunteer worldwide in humanitarian operations'. Why? Because the project is 'meeting the need for humanitarian volunteers' as the promotional video explains. Finally, all these desperate claims of local communities affected by humanitarian catastrophes to please, please send European volunteers will find an open ear; also, after long and successful lobbying work, 10,000 young Europeans, many potentially affected by under- or unemployment in their home countries will be able to work for little money volunteer (I could not find details about how much they get paid) alongside proper EU experts that

Links & Contents I Liked 42

Hello all, A nice selection of good reads found its way on this week's list: We start with three contributions on capitalism and development: The pitfalls of the 'Green Economy', privatising entire cities in Honduras & outsourcing jobs to Kenya; but the second part features more uplifting, even entertaining material before the third parts wraps up with some interesting career-related resources. Also, do check out the 'Academia' section on classroom disruptions and the GUARDIAN's development studies reading list! Enjoy! Development The Dark Side of the “Green Economy” One concern is that this new green economy is a form of “disaster capitalism”—a global effort to put the “services” of nature into the same hands that caused the global financial meltdown. And that seems like a very, very bad idea. Increasingly, the evidence on the ground bears this out. The reforestation plan in Mozambique has peasant farmers planting industrial monocultures of African palm

Links & Contents I Liked 41

Hello all, In addition to two new blog posts quite a few interesting stories ended up on my link list this week. From great collections of resources for studying/reading development to immersions, everyday lives of aidworkers, networked organisations and some other links that made me wonder in the end whether I am/we are a bit self-absorbed sometimes in development land ;)! Anyway... Enjoy, share and be happy! New on aidnography Reflections on #virtualapsa & using HangOut for academic events Last week, a core group of participants of the original APSA panel 40-3 'Issues of and responses to Internet governance' decided to take advantage of modern technology and try out a virtual panel via Google Hangouts. (...) I just want to take the opportunity and share a few technological, practical and academic reflections on the event. The role of graduate studies in the 'flawed development system'- a reply to Karen Attiah As development students submit their theses and finish