Links & Contents I Liked 181

Hi all,

It’s Friday again-and it has been quite a busy week link-wise!

Development news: In addition to the story of the week that MSF pulls out of the World Humanitarian Summit there is more food for thought on what the summit can or cannot address and achieve; how refugee situation is changing journalism; the complexities around Gambian asylum seekers; frontline photojournalist on dilemmas of telling stories with the one picture; street children in Bangladesh; a scathing review of humanitarian failure in Nepal; the politics of inclusive development; office jargon
Our digital lives on empowerment and disempowerment in the digital age; TED founder on how we all will be better off watching more TED talks
Some great new readings, including IDS anniversary bulletin; a classic book on gender and sexuality is rediscovered; what ‘open’ means and how scholars look in their scholarly online profiles.
Finally, Academia with 21st century reflections on ethnography and writing anthropology at the intersection of academia and fiction!

Enjoy!


New from aidnography
Salesforce's Marc Benioff has not kicked off a 'new era of corporate social activism'

As the company moves into its new 'Zen-Heavy, Eco-Groovy, Starchitect-Designed' building we are once again told a story we have heard quite often by now: How the Silicon Valley discourse can produce profits and a better world at the same time and how we are entering a 'new era' of philanthrocapitalism that balances people, planet and profits.
Development news
MSF pulls out of World Humanitarian Summit

The international medical organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF or Doctors Without Borders), announced today that it is not going to the World Humanitarian Summit. In a statement, MSF said it was pulling out “with disappointment”, after months of preparatory discussions. MSF believes the summit may let those most responsible for spiralling humanitarian need – governments – off the hook. The summit has lost its way and become, in MSF’s opinion, “a fig-leaf of good intentions”.
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The organisation of the summit, which has yet to nail down all the attendees or speakers, less than a month before it opens, was described by various NGO sources as ”last-minute” and “exhausting”. Behind the scenes, multiple sources told IRIN there was still jockeying for speaking slots, and unanswered questions about who gets to access which zones of the conference.
If this piece has not been shown up in your online news feeds, your humanitarian news radar is probably broken ;)! In addition to the news content it also confirms that IRIN has really developed into a premier news source for the aid and humanitarian sector!

WHS will *not* fold hum'n action into dev't. I'm hearing this a lot & it puzzles me. What it *will* do, hopefully, is drive greater... 3/x

— Jeremy Konyndyk (@JeremyKonyndyk) May 5, 2016

One of the responses to the MSF announcement to quit WHS.

Three Big Questions for the World Humanitarian Summit

The Summit is not about humanitarian action (as I first expected it would be). This Summit is primarily about preventing and ending humanitarian crisis, not alleviating its impact on people. Good. But that is a story of war, politics, development, marginalization, inequality, or even gender and ethnicity and culture. I see that states will be at the Summit. I know that humanitarians have booked their tables. Who else? Has the development sector mobilized? How about the peace and reconciliation communities? Human rights and global justice agencies? Civil society organizers? Forget the H in WHS, this is their Summit too, because while humanitarians fix people caught in crisis, we need completely different actors to fix the crisis itself.
Marc DuBois asks tough questions about the forthcoming WHS.

What the refugee crisis tells us about journalism

Médecins Sans Frontières’s Polly Markandya summed it up with a remark that social media is changing the landscape of journalism fundamentally: front-line volunteers working with refugees in Europe have challenged traditional aid agencies and media organisations in the way they are flexible and responsive, and in the way they fundraise.
They also challenge us to think differently about journalism practice and pathways to change. Who is now a journalist? How far should stories go past informing? What will change minds, get politicians to ask questions, fight xenophobia or protect human rights?
Anita Makri sums up the opportunities and challenges of digital humanitarian journalism in her concise post.

Between a rock and a hard place: Gambians tackle Fortress Europe

The introduction of new legislation that has legitimised the penalisation of dissident voices has exacerbated abuses, and state-led violence threatens to worsen with the upcoming presidential elections in December. The Information and Communication Act (2013) allows the state to imprison journalists such as Isa for up t0 15 years for “spreading false information”. Furthermore, reporters who cover opposition party rallies have disappeared, while family members of those persecuted are often intimidated into giving information, which could further criminalise their loved ones or risk facing violence themselves.
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Although many Gambians claiming asylum in the EU do not fit the narrow criteria for refugee status under the 1951 Refugee Convention, the distinctions between a refugee facing political persecution and other irregular migrants fleeing the suffocating grip of economic and political oppression are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.
Alexandra Embiricos' piece is a very good reminder about the nuances behind a term like 'refugee crisis' and how outdated laws and definitions of 'refugees' fail to take modern realities into consideration-especially on the margins of the dominant discourse around migration.

Photojournalist Manu Brabo on Syria: 'If I take a picture here, am I hurting someone?'

“It was a terrible thing to see and a terrible moment for him; it had to have been the worst moment of his life. You think to yourself, ‘If I take a picture here, am I hurting someone?’ But there’s no other way to do this job: to take pictures, you have to be right there, right in front of someone. What I do is to take my pictures really fast, as fast as I can, and then I get out of the way. The truth is, that man probably didn’t even notice me; but I knew I was there, I didn’t want to make things even worse for him. This sort of photography isn’t something I do easily or lightly. When I was taking this picture I thought: this picture will tell a big story. Maybe this picture can say a lot about the Syrian war: I believe it does.”
Photojournalist Manu Brabo on the challenging ethical dilemmas when taking pictures at the frontlines.

'I get scared if I sleep alone': street children in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has more than 64 million children, and hundreds of thousands of them live on the streets. These children are denied an education, medical care and acceptance in society.
Street children in Bangladesh are 2.5 times more likely to be excluded from school than their counterparts from wealthier backgrounds, locking them into a vicious cycle of poverty.
CJ Clarke photo essay is a powerful reminder that development debates need the 'Our world in data' macro approach to global change, but at the same time the nuanced stories from the ground that remind us that 'less inequality' or 'fewer people living in poverty' means different things for different people.

One Year After the Nepal Quake and Zero Houses Rebuilt: Why I’m Not Surprised

Nepal’s government did about ten things really, really wrong after the earthquake. They held up imports for political reasons, failed to resolve a fuel embargo, failed to initiate a reconstruction authority for almost a year, and slowed aid because of perceived political favoritism. They only got their Reconstruction Authority up and running a couple of months ago.
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Why do so many organizations spend money on emergency solutions to non-emergency problems? Because it’s easier! They don’t know the country and they don’t have time to get to know it. In some cases, they are contractually obligated to spend money quickly. The UN Flash Appeal, a common financing mechanism, actually requires organizations submit proposals for projects that will be completed within three months.
Emily Troutman provides an excellent and scathing critique of the government's and aid organizations' responses to the Nepal quake.

The Long Read: The Politics of Inclusive Development: Two Books, One Title by Alice Evans

This comparative review examines two recent books that attend to the politics of inclusive development. As the texts address the central issue through divergent approaches, Alice Evans identifies and outlines four key shared themes – namely, state capacity, elite commitment, coalition-building and consensus – and discusses three striking omissions in these fascinating studies.
As a big fan of book reviews I can recommend Alice Evans' latest one very highly!

The Untold Story of the Most Hated Workplace Clichés

These verbal emoticons of drudgery convey more sentiment than meaning. We know that “synergy” is something that we’re all supposed to be aspiring towards, and that it’s a really, really good thing. But could any two people in a workplace agree on what it actually is?
Perhaps understanding the true origins of these terms would help — or, at the very least, confirm your worst fears that if something sounds like gibberish, it probably is.
Mark Strauss should probably be reminded that many industries, including our beloved aid one, know versions of 'bullshit Bingo'...it is interesting to compare buzzwords' original meaning with today's almost meaningless 'plastic words' that they have become.

Our digital lives

Fear of Screens

Rather than constant self-regulation through “mindfulness” and “balance,” we might assess our relationship to digital connection in terms of our autonomy. Are we really “addicted” to phones, or do contemporary work demands make it impossible to disconnect? In what ways is our control over how connected we are a privilege, especially when considering those for whom digital connection is prohibitively expensive or who cannot procure reliable internet access?
From this point of view, both connection and disconnection can be appreciated for their own sakes. When connection is not treated as a controlled substance, it can transcend its relation to productivity. Time away need no longer be seen as a kind of necessary recharging, as if humans were batteries. Whether we are pleasurably zoned out in front of a screen or a campfire, we might “waste” time for wastefulness’ sake, to burn it, to put it to no future productive use.
Nathan Jurgenson with a very reflective essay on the complexities of digital live, its advantages and interpretations beyond tired dichotomies.

'I was losing $1 million a day, every day for 18 months': Meet Chris Anderson, the man behind TED talks

TED employs more than 150 full-time staff, but what Anderson calls ‘the secret sauce’ is an army of 40-50,000 volunteers around the world, staging local conferences and providing translations of talks into some 100 languages.
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So I think we ought to be doing something in that environment, and materially expanding what we think of as a TED talk. You need to imagine TED talks in a million villages around the world, providing the information that can give people a better shot at life, and beyond that, capturing their voices.
Mick Brown's long-read on TED founder Chris Anderson follows the well-known discourse of digital capitalism, of 'ideas', 'changing lives' and a non-profit model that generates a lot of money, but differently and for the greater benefit of humanity. Daniel Esser and I approached TED talks from a development research and communication angle as you may remember...

Hot off the digital press
Development Studies – Past, Present and Future

At 50 years old, the Institute of Development Studies is ‘looking back, in order to look forward so too this IDS Bulletin aims to trace the history of certain topics in development studies by bringing together two generations of scholars – Research Fellows and students – to provide insight to our rich past and promising future. The nine articles in this issue represent this collaboration and consider the larger picture: Where is development studies today? Where has it come from? And what role have specific fields of research played in the development of development studies? Such an issue is certainly an ambitious task, since ideas in development theory and practice cannot be divorced from the broader assumptions, aspirations and beliefs of any given era. Each article in this IDS Bulletin speaks to how topics in development studies have critically challenged the existing paradigms, particularly on expanding the focus of development from the ‘South’ to a universal approach. They all explore the intersectionality of different aspects to development, say the intersection of climate change and poverty, race and inequality, cities and violence.
50th anniversary issue of the IDS Bulletin-open access, of course!

Before and After Gender: Sexual Mythologies of Everyday Life

Written in the early 1970s amidst widespread debate over the causes of gender inequality, Marilyn Strathern’s Before and After Gender was intended as a widely accessible analysis of gender as a powerful cultural code and sex as a defining mythology. But when the series for which it was written unexpectedly folded, the manuscript went into storage, where it remained for more than four decades. This book finally brings it to light, giving the long-lost feminist work—accompanied here by an afterword from Judith Butler—an overdue spot in feminist history.
Another great addition to the HAU open access book collection!

Fifty shades of open

Open source. Open access. Open society. Open knowledge. Open government. Even open food. The word “open” has been applied to a wide variety of words to create new terms, some of which make sense, and some not so much. This essay disambiguates the many meanings of the word “open” as it is used in a wide range of contexts.
Great article-do read beyond the title ;)!

Self-presentation in scholarly profiles: Characteristics of images and perceptions of professionalism and attractiveness on academic social networking sites

The majority of the individuals on Mendeley, Microsoft Academic Search, and Google Scholar were Caucasian, male, and perceived to be over the age of 35. Females and younger individuals were perceived as less professional than male and older individuals, while women were more likely to be perceived as “attractive.” In addition, the Mechanical Turk coders were susceptible to framing; the individuals in the profile pictures were considered more “professional” if they were identified as “scholars” rather than merely as “individuals.” The results have far-reaching implications for self-presentation and framing, both for scholars and for other professionals. In the academic realm, there are serious implications for hiring and the allocation of resources and rewards.
Another really interesting article from First Monday!

Download 6600 Free Films from The Prelinger Archives and Use Them However You Like

Midcentury moralism manifests in countless entertaining forms across the Prelinger Archives collection, including in Make Mine Freedom, a Cold War cartoon treatment of the various treacherous “-isms” out to undermine truth, justice, and the American Way. That came out in 1948, just as fears started roiling again after the United States’ victory in the Second World War. The year before, the husband-and-wife experimental filmmaking team of Alexander Hammid and Maya Deren completed The Private Life of a Cat. “Using their own cats in their own apartment,” writes Dangerous Minds’ Amber Frost, “they chronicle the interior world of a cat ‘family,’ and it’s just insanely compelling, even outside of the cat-lady milieu!” Further down, we have House in the Middle (1954), which suggests that a clean, tidy house can help you survive an atomic blast.
In a word: 'Interesting'...

Academia

Ethnography: Provocation

In each case, data-collection and problem-oriented research led to the kind of anthropology that Ingold desires. Ethnography is not something done after the fact. It begins before fieldwork, is renegotiated during, and continues to evolve beyond periods of intense, face-to-face interaction. It resembles kinship in that way, and ethnographers often acquire new relatives while doing fieldwork. As a way of living and working with others, good ethnography depends on asking questions, coming up with convincing answers, and doing so collaboratively. Anthropology, ethnography, and fieldwork are not separate in the way Ingold suggests. They are all happening at the same time, across the discipline and into the world. An intellectual tradition unfolds as a result. Ethnography is crucial to that tradition. When Ingold implies that there is something base, something ill-conceived and inadequate about ethnography’s empirical dimension, he steps into a standard role. He is the high priest who conceals and celebrates the mysteries of fieldwork. Or, less flattering, he is the parent who can’t talk honestly to her kids about sex.
Andrew Shryock takes on Tim Ingold and argues that ethnography is not only relevant, but that a concept like 'ethnography' is actually a way of thinking and doing fit for changing demands around 'data', 'transparency' and '360 degree research'.

Paul Stoller on the Future of Ethnographic Writing.

We are happy to host the full video of Paul Stoller’s lecture “The Burden of Writing the Sorcerer’s Burden: Ethnography, Fiction and the Future of Anthropological Expression,” which he delivered on 19 April 2016 as part of his visiting Simon professorship in the Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester. Stoller reflects on the importance of storytelling in anthropology and on the limitations often imposed by academic writing. He also describes the experience of trying to publish ethnographic fiction such as his latest book The Sorcerer’s Burden (2016).
I started to watch his lecture and it is really interesting-especially if you think about writing and the context of 'popular representations of development' etc.

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