For experienced and inexperienced researchers and practitioners alike, this engaging book opens up new perspectives on conducting fieldwork in the Global South. Following an inter–disciplinary and inter-generational approach, Understanding Global Development brings into dialogue reflections on fieldwork experiences by leading scholars along with accounts from early career researchers. Contributions are organised around six key issues:  • Meaningful participation in fieldwork  • Working in dangerous environments  • Gendered experiences of fieldwork  • Researching elites  • Conducting fieldwork with marginalised people  • Fieldwork in development practice. The experience–led discussion of each of the topics conveys a sense of what it actually feels like to be out in the field and provides readers with useful insights and practical advice. A relational framework highlights issues relating to power, identity and ethics in development fieldwork, and encourages reflection on how researcher engagement with the field shapes our understanding of global development.

Irrelevance Dressed as Success? (Dis)spirited Reflections on Knowledge-based Development

Lata Narayanaswamy


In the conversation above, Professor Mosse identifies three concerns relating to development discourse, policy and practice: first, the problematic assumption that good policy leads to good practice; second, that we struggle in development discourse and practice to acknowledge, discuss and act upon ‘failure’; and third, how development organisations engage with the ‘local’ with the aim of promoting more sustainable development outcomes. His reflections draw on a diversity of experiences not really similar to my own. And yet, it is in the convergence of these three concerns that I find a shared commonality of experience.

My doctoral research began with two questions emerging from my work as a ‘knowledge-for-development’ practitioner: what do individuals and organisations on ...

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