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Thinking and Working Politically – Are We Seeing the Emergence of a Second Orthodoxy?

Graham Teskey, Principal Global Lead for Governance

White Paper

February 10, 2017

There now is a persuasive volume of evidence that demonstrates that capacity and technical knowledge alone are insufficient to change deeply entrenched political interests and bureaucratic norms. These critiques demonstrate that an understanding of power asymmetries is frequently the critical missing ingredient in project design and implementation. Many eminent thinkers have looked at the difference between success and failure in development, and all point to the primacy of domestic politics.

This point has not been lost on development agencies and some have tried to provoke greater attention to the role that politics plays. However, this recognition is yet to pass into the mainstream of development practice. Despite the slow but sure accretion of this knowledge the international community seems to be wedded to doing development traditionally.