Cultural critiques of Development

More and more I’m finding clever critiques of development and development NGOs emerging from cultural circles, both from the north and south that I wanted to share with the Progressive Development Forum. There is this one from Kenya, a “mockumentary” about INGOS: which looks like a clever take on the Office, and I must admit, gels with some of what I’ve witnessed over the years.

I also met a Danish playwright at a literature festival here in Bangalore last month, Astrid Saalbach, who wrote a play about the perils of Aid. She’s quite well known in Denmark, and said she was vilified for saying anything wrong about Danish Aid.  The people in her play see what’s wrong with their mission in Nepal, but are also trapped in the system. Its a brilliant and sober critique of western do-goodism.

If anyone hasn’t seen it, yet, there’s also the Radi-Aid video, which was posted on this site before.

Anyone have any others?

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7 Responses to Cultural critiques of Development

  1. Amy Skinner says:

    Dear Deborah,
    Thank you for sharing those! Just to add to them- here is another great animation from Survival International revealing the disastrous effects of many ‘development’ programmes:

  2. mtega says:

    There’s always Jane Bussmann’s expletive-packed stand-up comedy show “Bono and Geldof are C*nts”. An earlier incarnation of the show is on youtube: Some good points, some rubbish.

    And there’s the great “Yes we know it’s Christmas” initiative in South Africa: Though the original of that song is so bad I had always suspected that it was just a brutally ironic take on British perspectives on Africa that turned out to be too subtle for its listeners.

    And there’s a fair bit of development criticism to be found implicitly or otherwise in various novels. My favourite is Michael Holman’s “Last Orders at Harrods” trilogy.

  3. Rose Bridger says:

    Wonderful to be listing these critiques of aid. This one ,Drive Aid, kinda flips it, putting satirical case that rich people’s cars need feeding with food grown in poor countries.

  4. John Hilary says:

    And, for a slightly different take: “African Union: We cannot ignore the plight of Berkshire any longer”

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