Question How does change happen and how can development organisations support changes that enhance equity and social justice?
My approach Personal, partial and political experience in webs of relationships How we theorise change shapes our efforts at purposeful intervention. These efforts may have unintended consequences of sustaining or reinforcing inequitable relations of power and injustice.
Development resource flows* Donor country civil society & INGOs Donor government Multilateral agencies Citizen Local civil society Citizen Recipient government Foundations Global funds * Public and not for profit
Three inter-connected sets of theories Theories of society and societal change Substantialism and relationalism Complexity
Theories of societal change in the Western intellectual tradition Aggregate actions of individuals Technological progress New beliefs and ideas Purposive individual and collective action Structural conflicts
Substantialism and relationalism Substantialism: viewing the world as separate autonomous entities Relationalism: entities are defined and shaped by their relations with others
Development aid from a substantialist perspective Money Technical assistance Aid as catalyst Aid architecture Incentives Mechanisms Outcomes/results Accountability between binary sets of actors Aid Chains
And from a relational perspective Patterns of social relations, shaping and being shaped through the giving and receiving of money and people. Donors as well as recipients are changed by the aid relationship Systems Processes Emergent change Solidarity Clientelism/patrimonialism Webs
Perceptions of power Substantialist Power as a resource Identifies power- holders Mechanisms to tackle power imbalances Accountability as sets of dyadic relations Relational Power is everywhere - not a scarce resource Multiple, inter- connected and emergent relations Expanding the social limits of what is possible in webs of relations
Complexity approaches to development aid – Disagreements on what are the problems- change through contestation; – Uncertainties as to how improvements might be made – risk taking; – Planned opportunism; – Working with paradoxes; – ‘Messy partnerships’ (Irene)
The tough bit Seeing ourselves as partial and in the system Managing multiple accountabilities: MAD; Investing in relationships rather than themes means re-educating donors; Going public about failure = decline in funds; Strategic planning constrains spotting and supporting local self-generated processes; INGOs’ focus on growth constrains flexibility; Bureaucratic organisations - a historical form derived from substantialist thinking – good reasons why they are anti-relational.