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An Ethnography of Ngo Practice in India - Utopias of Development

  • Innbundet

  • 2018

  • Engelsk

Through an ethnographic study of an internationally renowned NGO situated in Rajasthan, India, this book investigates the methods and practices by which a development organisation materialises and manages a construction of success. Paying particular attention to the material processes by which success is achieved and the different meanings and discourses that are performed, this book offers a timely and novel approach to how the world of development NGOs and development ideologies work. The author argues that the organisation, as a prolific producer of various forms of development media, achieves its success through materially mediated heterotopic spectacles: enacted and imperfect utopias that constitute the desires, imaginings and Otherness of its society.

Founded by a charismatic figure, the organisation in Rajasthan has become a national and global icon of grass-roots sustainable development. With a particular focus on the community-managed, solar photovoltaic development programme, one that trains illiterate women from countries across Africa and beyond as ‘Solar engineers,’ this book considers the largely overlooked question of how it is that an NGO achieves a reputation for success. 

Allen’s engaging, theoretically ambitious and richly textured account of development in motion is an original contribution to both the Anthropology of Development and to Material Culture Studies and Science and Technology Studies. It will also be a valuable resource for students or readers seeking an accessible account of how development models and ideals have evolved in India.

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