« We do not yet have development”: Encounters of development knowledges, identities, and practices in as NGO program in rural Haiti

In rural Haiti, community development programs are delivered predominantly by non-governmental organizations(NGOs), and commonly have goals related to empowerment, participation, and local capacity development. Yet attainment of these goals is often difficult, and analysis of these programs neglects the complex micropolitics of development interventions. This thesis investigates the local-level encounter and contestation of NGO and local discourses of development in a community in rural Haiti.

My theoretical framework is taken from a post-developmentalist perspective, which sees discourses of development as pervasive forces which shape identities,knowledges and relations of power in much of the southern world(Escobar,l92a;192b;195; Ferguson,190; Crush,195; PetandWats,196). Yet, following Foucault(1980;1982), these discourses of development are not monolithic or fixed, but rather remain critical sites of encounter where various social actors struggle and manoeuvre for political, social and economic advantage. The impact of community development programs can only be understood in terms of complex local-level processes in which different social actors interpret, negotiate and contest knowledge and power ‘interfaces’ (Long,1989;192)created at these sites of encounter.

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