10 APR | Open Lecture: From the anthropology of development to the anthropology of global social engineering

On April 10, the Master in Development Studies will promote an open lecture with Thomas Bierschenk as invited speaker.

The lecture “From the anthropology of development to the anthropology of global social engineering” has free entrance and will take place at room 1E02, at 6 p.m.

About the lecture

With the transformation of development policy to global structural policy, the ‘old’ anthropology of development must become an anthropology of global social engineering. This involves the challenge of focusing on the entire policy chain – from the production of development policy models in the context of the development agencies, to the different translation points (for example, state ministries in the recipient countries and large international NGOs) and local intervention points. From this perspective, the new development policy emerges as one of the contemporary forms of producing the world. Interesting approaches exist in Germany for such an ethnography of global social engineering. They have considerable implications for the entire discipline and its knowledge production practices.

About the speaker

Thomas Bierschenk is Professor of Anthropology and Modern African Studies at Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. In his research, he has focused on questions of development, African public services and civil servants, the ethnography of public policies as well as of the local state in West Africa. He has published States at Works. Dynamics of African Bureaucracies (Brill 2014, edited together with Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan; “From the anthropology of development to the anthropology of global social engineering.” Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 139(1): 73–98; and Anthropology and Development. A historicizing and localizing approach. Mainz 2008.

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


CEI-Iscte (Centre for International Studies) is a university-based multidisciplinary research center at ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL). CEI-Iscte aims at promoting interdisciplinary research in Social Sciences, International Relations and Economy, focusing in its areas of geographic specialisation: Africa, Asia, Europe, and Transatlantic Relations.

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