• How Development Projects Persist: Everyday Negotiations with Guatemalan NGOs

    Pages: 280
    Illustrations: 11 illustrations
    Sales/Territorial Rights: World
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  • Acknowledgments  vii
    1. Social Engineering from Above and Below  1
    2. Repackaging Development in Guatemala  29
    3. Namaste's Bootstrap Model  64
    4. Women and Workers Responding to Bootstrap Development  90
    5. The Fraternity's Holistic Model  134
    6. The Uneven Practices and Experiences of Holistic Development  162
    7. The Implications of Socially Constructed Development  208
    Appendix. Research Methods and Ethical Dilemmas  225
    Notes  233
    References  239
    Index  259
  • "Beck’s work is a great contribution to international development literature."


  • "Beck’s work is a great contribution to international development literature."

  • "Erin Beck's extraordinary book is a major contribution to both development policy and development scholarship. It reminds readers that development projects don't just appear, intervene, and leave, but rather are themselves part of long, complex trajectories. Important, accessible, and setting a provocative agenda for development studies, How Development Projects Persist is a highly effective teaching tool for both undergraduate and graduate students and should be required reading for development workers and all scholars of NGOs, humanitarianism, and development." — Jocelyn Viterna, author of, Women in War: The Micro-processes of Mobilization in El Salvador

    "By highlighting the ways people animate and transform NGO interventions, Erin Beck challenges accounts of NGOs that imply that development is merely something that happens to people. Demonstrating the need to embrace the frequently observed gap between the intentions and outcomes of development projects, Beck's excellent book offers us a rich set of insights into women's lives, identities, and agency as well as an understanding of the everyday working lives of NGO workers." — David Lewis, London School of Economics & Political Science

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  • Description

    In How Development Projects Persist Erin Beck examines microfinance NGOs working in Guatemala and problematizes the accepted wisdom of how NGOs function. Drawing on twenty months of ethnographic fieldwork, she shows how development models and plans become entangled in the relationships among local actors in ways that alter what they are, how they are valued, and the conditions of their persistence. Beck focuses on two NGOs that use drastically different methods in working with poor rural women in Guatemala. She highlights how each program's beneficiaries—diverse groups of savvy women—exercise their agency by creatively appropriating, resisting, and reinterpreting the lessons of the NGOs to match their personal needs. Beck uses this dynamic—in which the goals of the developers and women do not often overlap—to theorize development projects as social interactions in which policymakers, workers, and beneficiaries critically shape what happens on the ground. This book displaces the notion that development projects are top-down northern interventions into a passive global south by offering a provocative account of how local conditions, ongoing interactions, and even fundamental tensions inherent in development work allow such projects to persist, but in new and unexpected ways.

    About The Author(s)

    Erin Beck is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Oregon.
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