Institutionalizing inequality:calculative practices and regimes of inequality in international development

Hayes, Niall and Introna, Lucas Daniel and Kelly, Paul (2018) Institutionalizing inequality:calculative practices and regimes of inequality in international development. Organization Studies, 39 (9). pp. 1203-1226. ISSN 0170-8406

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This paper focuses on the institutionalization of inequality in relations between donors and NGOs in the international development sector. We argue that these relations operate within a neoliberal and competitive marketplace, which are necessarily unequal. Specifically, we focus on the apparently mundane practice of impact assessment, and consider how this is fundamental to understanding the performative enactment of institutional inequality. For our analysis we draw upon Miller and Rose’s work on governmentality and calculative practices. We develop our argument with reference to a case study of a donor driven impact assessment initiative being conducted in India. Specifically, we consider an impact assessment initiative that the donor has piloted with one of the NGOs they fund that seeks to improve the livelihoods of Indian farmers. We will argue that institutional inequality can be understood in the way the market as a social institution becomes enacted into mundane calculative practices. Calculative practices produce different kinds of knowledge and in so doing becomes a way in which subjects position themselves, or become positioned, as unequal.

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Journal Article
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Organization Studies
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The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Organization Studies, 39 (9), 2018, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Organization Studies page: on SAGE Journals Online:
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23 Feb 2017 13:30
Last Modified:
24 Nov 2022 00:54