The High Plains Society
Applied Anthropology

Now That We Know Where the Bodies are Buried, Who Do We Tell?

Riall W. Nolan

Although the past fifty years have seen substantial progress on a number of fronts, it is hard to claim that development has been successful for the majority of the world’s poorer people. Development’s failure largely has been due to the failure of our development industry to learn from experience.  Yet anthropologists, among other professionals, have learned a great deal of value.  The problem is that ready-made constituencies, sensitive to development practice and development outcomes, do not exist.  This commentary examines why institutional learning within the development industry has been so difficult.  Several paradigms are examined.  Lack of fit and lack of context, not lack of information, is central to the problem.  Engagement of the public at large, as well as a focused agenda for reform, are central to the solution.

The Applied Anthropologist, No. 1-2, Vol. 30, 2010, pp 34 - 38

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