Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Book
Title International Development and Assistance: Where Politics Meets Economy
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2004
City Warsaw
Country/State Poland
URL http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=895947#page=49
Wolfgang Sachs in The Development Dictionary states that, 'development is much more than just a socio-economic endeavour; it is a perception which models reality, a myth which comforts societies, and a fantasy which unleashes passions'. For over five decades, the term 'development' has been seen as the embodiment of the ideals of freedom, progress and equality, a banner under which all of humanity could unite, with the promise of a brighter future.

Increasingly, however, the viability of development, whether one chooses to characterise it as concept, ideal or myth, is being questioned. We live in a world of excessive deprivation, destitution and marginalisation. And the presence of millions of refugees and displaced persons globally is but one manifestation of the problems that prevail in spite of, or some would say because of, development.

This volume outlines the need for an integrated analysis of the links between development, social transformation, displacement, migration and humanitarianism. It addresses globalisation (championed by the development paradigm) as a transformational phenomenon, which has led to an unprecedented level of interconnectedness on a global scale but which, paradoxically, has also resulted in an increasing emphasis on the local, specifically in relation to perceived encroachments on national sovereignty.

In this context, the chapters that follow trace connections between the process of the generation of refugees, the ability or inability of particular populations to move, and the concomitant tightening of national borders. Conversely, they also demonstrate the weakening of the primacy of sovereignty in the context of current norms
of humanitarian intervention and analyse the efficacy of the delivery of humanitarian assistance given the extreme complexity of contemporary emergencies, the limits of aid agency co-ordination and questions relating to the political neutrality of humanitarianism. Significantly, several case-specific studies, ranging from Burma to the Sudan, thereby encompassing a range of geo-political regions, are incorporated in an effort to discourage perceptual bias.

The work contained herein is especially pertinent in the aftermath of September 11th 2001 and governments' intensifying concerns about domestic security, which have resulted in a decrease in focus on the safety considerations of migrants. It is all the more relevant in view of the subsequent declaration of a 'war on terrorism' which has raised serious questions about state sovereignty, the global role of the United Nations and the shape of future humanitarian operations.

International Development and Assistance: Where Politics Meets Economy brings together authors from across a range of disciplines, each contributing unique perspectives on the consequences of development and globalisation on the humanitarian system and provides a foundation for more informed debate about the disparities between the myth and the reality of the development process.

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