Friday, March 02, 2007

Oxfam: Development in Practice. No. 439.

The journal, Development in Practice , is published by Oxfam. Development in Practice is an international journal offering practice-based analysis and research concerning the social dimensions of development and humanitarianism, and provides a worldwide forum for debate and the exchange of ideas among practitioners, academics, and policy shapers, including activists and NGOs. By challenging current assumptions, the journal seeks to stimulate new thinking and ways of working. Contributors represent a wide range of cultural and professional backgrounds and experience.
Volume 16, Number 6
"Which knowledge? Whose reality? An overview of knowledge used in the development sector." by Mike Powell.

An overview of issues relating to the use of knowledge by development organisations. It starts by exploring the various definitions of knowledge which exist in a world of many cultures and intellectual traditions and the role of language. It considers their relationship with each other and with the many and varied ‘informational developments’ – information-related changes in work, culture, organisations, and technology across the world. It argues that these issues pose a number of fundamental strategic challenges to the development sector. The second part looks at where, in practice, development organisations get their information and knowledge from and identifies problem areas with many of the channels used. Its conclusion is that most current practice consistently militates against the type of relationship and type of communication that are essential if development policy and practice is to be anything other than an imposition of external ideas, however well intentioned.

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