The Self-Help Myth (book review)

If there was such a thing as an award for best chapter in a monograph, I would definitely nominate the first chapter of Erica Kohl-Arenas’ book ‘ The Self-Help Myth-How Philanthropy fails to alleviate poverty ’. The chapter provides an excellent overview over core debates about philanthropy, beneficiary participation in self-help projects and how such approaches have a historical legacy of failing farmworkers in California. As the narrative of 5+ decades of charitable work in the Californian agricultural industry unfolds, we have the great fortune of exploring one of the best development ethnographies I have come across in the very long time-despite the fact that Kohl-Arenas’ research actually took place in the USA and not in a developing country. Her detailed, yet carefully selected vignettes from the early days of the self-help movement in the 1960s to the social capital era of the 1990s and today’s ‘win-win’ coalitions including the agricultural industry are framed into three be

Links & Contents I Liked 174

Hi all, Development news features a new aid poem; UNESCO’s app fail on freedom of expression; how traditional organizations struggle with social media in emergencies; child sponsorship works! (says the World Bank); celebrities wearing stupid golden blankets; the hype around ‘effective altruism’; disaster capitalism meets refugees. Digital lives on how Tumblr teens turn into ourselves; the high stakes world of cute animal Instagrammers; Academia with more on UK’s proposed anti-lobbying legislation; social science fit for Africa; being a responsible public intellectual & anthropological challenges for a post-Ebola world. Enjoy! New from aidnography Kicking Inner City Press’ Matt Lee out of the UN is bad for media & development Large development organizations in general and the UN system in particular which talks a lot in an abstract way about ‘open data’, ‘transparency’ and ‘freedom of press’ need to find better ways of engaging with new forms of journalism. I can understa

Kicking Inner City Press’ Matt Lee out of the UN is bad for media & development

News about Matt Lee and his stand-off with UN officials reached me through Twitter on Saturday morning local time and has since gained some momentum, including a longer piece on BuzzFeed . I have been following Inner City Press ’ reporting from the UN for a while and there are quite a few instances where I do not agree with Matt’s interpretation of events and his overall tone as a member of a radical opposition to the UN system. But it is 2016 and journalism is changing. Large development organizations in general and the UN system in particular which talks a lot in an abstract way about ‘open data’, ‘transparency’ and ‘freedom of press’ need to find better ways of engaging with new forms of journalism. I can understand that UN headquarters want to cling on to some traditional rules, regulations and gentlemen (sic!) agreements around reporting and journalism, but in a fragmented media landscape, filled with everything from BuzzFeed to Russia Today , from Foreign Policy columnists to

Links & Contents I Liked 173

Hi all, Let’s start the week with some fresh readings! Development news features: Wyclef Jean’s ‘Ask me Anything’ disaster; the troubling comfort of aid lives in Geneva; UK think tanks threatened by ‘anti-advocacy’ clause; Kagame’s Rwanda; how bad are humanitarian agencies listening?; our limited empathy in long wars; complex complexity theory; Cape Town’s Congolese dandies. Our digital lives on auto-ethnographic Snapchat experiments; #blacklivesmatter & citizen empowerment; enhancing IS narratives? New readings featuring: Safety & Protection of Media professionals; using Twitter data in social science; why the World Bank is still needed and still disappoints. Academia on the laborious process of publishing research and the Khan Academy on the future of free education. Enjoy! New from aidnography Bad news (book review) Bad news is a timely addition to current debates academics, students and practitioners have on the importance of various media formats and their contrib

Bad news (book review)

Anjan Sundaram delivers a poignant and timely book, a highly readable mix between a (very) long form journalistic essay and a foreign correspondent memoir (he actually worked as a media trainer). ‘ Bad News-Last Journalists in a Dictatorship ’ is his expose of the Rwandan regime’s suppression of free media and journalistic freedoms with a significant personal, sometimes deadly toll for a generation of young journalists. Running a small media training project with a core of independent journalists, Sundaram features stories and events that occurred during his stay in Kigali between 2009 and 2013. President Paul Kagame’s tight grip on the society and his power to control the country are palpable throughout the book and the quest of a small group of independent journalists to engage critically with the circumstances (i.e. doing their job) represents broader struggles of living and working in an authoritarian society. The lives of others – Journalism in post-genocide Rwanda This was

Links & Contents I Liked 172

Hi all, Thanks to a busy, but also very fulfilling week with lots of great teaching and discussions with students, link review #172 turned into a weekend edition! Development news features a story of sexual violence and Ebola; the failure to bring US-driven ‘digital democracy’ to Egypt; more Nestle and slavery; more on new challenges for the future of humanitarianism; what ‘zero effect’ of an intervention can mean; subversive charities in China and a biography on militant philosopher Frantz Fanon. Digital lives looks at the global app economic divide and the digital toolbox of a civil servant. Plenty of new publications , including annual peace operations review, Think Tank ranking and NGO tech report. Academia celebrates 45 years of UK’s Open University; a critical look at how relevant relevance discussions are-plus an anthropological view on hierarchical dependence in the German Max Planck research institutes. Enjoy! Development news A Swedish voluntourism organization is ad