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Development Aid Confronts Politics

The Almost Revolution

By Thomas Carothers and Diane de Gramont

A new lens on development is changing the world of international aid. The overdue recognition that development in all sectors is an inherently political process is driving aid providers to try to learn how to think and act politically.

Major donors are pursuing explicitly political goals alongside their traditional socioeconomic aims and introducing more politically informed methods throughout their work. Yet these changes face an array of external and internal obstacles, from heightened sensitivity on the part of many aid-receiving governments about foreign political interventionism to inflexible aid delivery mechanisms and entrenched technocratic preferences within many aid organizations.

This pathbreaking book assesses the progress and pitfalls of the attempted politics revolution in development aid and charts a constructive way forward.



1. The New Politics Agenda

The Original Framework: 1960s-1980s

2. Apolitical Roots

Breaking the Political Taboo: 1990s-2000s

3. The Door Opens to Politics

4. Advancing Political Goals

5. Toward Politically Informed Methods

The Way Forward

6. Politically Smart Development Aid

7. The Unresolved Debate on Political Goals

8. The Integration Frontier


9. The Long Road to Politics

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