Entwicklungszusammenarbeit im Spannungsfeld von Weltkultur und lokaler Handlungspraxis. Narrative deutscher Enwicklungsexpert_innen in Postkonfliktgesellschaften

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:CCS Working Papers (Band 17)
Main Author: Heusinger, Judith von
Format: Article
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2014
Online Access:PDF Full Text
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Theoretical approaches to globalization, world society, and Western modernity analyzing fundamental structural changes in international or national contexts mostly fail to reflect the role of the individual and processes of everyday practice. Using a macro-sociological World Polity perspective to investigate micro-level actorhood and decoupling, the paper presents an innovative approach of analysis. The paper focuses on development aid workers as individual actors and norm entrepreneurs who facilitate ‚development‘ and ‚modernization‘ in societies all over the world. Development aid workers intervene in culturally differing development and post conflict societies in order to operationalize global knowledge and norms on the micro-level. Based on qualitative interviews, the Working Paper argues that development aid workers dramatize their professional self and work practice using ‚global‘ language, frames and scripts. This leads to a disappearance of ‚the local’ as well as variations in work practice from their narratives. The Working Paper points out that the assumptions of the macro-sociological World Polity theory do apply to development aid workers as individual actors who present themselves as ‚rationalized others‘. Their self-presentation is consistent with theoretical assumptions on rationalization, individualism, universalism and instrumental activism as proposed by World Polity theory. Furthermore it is shown that development aid workers clearly see limits of individual scope of action. They stress the dominance of world culture and top-down influences rather than individual bottom-up exercise of influences on policy-making, usually defined as a central character trait of modern actorhood. The development aid workers depict two options to localize global institutions: long-time interpersonal engagement ‚on the ground’ and financial incentives. Here, more research on the nature of norm localization processes is needed.