Far-Fetched Facts

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Far-Fetched Facts. A Parable of Development Aid
Cover of Far-Fetched Facts.jpg
Author Richard Rottenburg
Publisher MIT Press
Publication date
2009
Pages 280
ISBN 978-0262182645

Far-fetched facts is a book by German anthropologist Richard Rottenburg published in German as Weit hergeholte Fakten in 2002; the English translation was released in 2009. The book is an ethnography-based, though fictionalized, polyphonic account of a waterworks improvement project in Tanzania (called Ruritania in the books fictionalization). The book follows the different stages of the development project by looking closely at the interactions between a Northern development bank, experts of an international consulting firm and African project managers. It focuses thereby on technologies of inscription that enable the reconnaissance and operationalization of improvement measures to be taken, but also guide the overall interaction between the different stakeholders of the project. Showing these representational and managerial practices the book lays bare the necessary day-to-day production of objectivity and legitimacy in development projects, but also the intricacies and inconsistencies of daily translation processes, that often lead to the rather disappointing results of such development enterprises. Inspired by organizational and science and technology studies “Far-fetched facts” provides an anthropological critique of the aid industry in Africa distinct from postdevelopment critique.

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