Borkar, Shrikant Bhaurao.pdf (3.35 MB)

In the twilight zone of aid bureaucracy: a study of social policy entrepreneurs

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posted on 2023-06-09, 04:17 authored by Shrikant Borkar
This research studies undocumented policy practices within UK aid in general and the Department for International Development (DFID) in particular. It focuses on the policy practices or initiatives taken by various actors in influencing and shaping policy in the everyday life of aid bureaucracy. For this purpose, I have chosen as case study the evolution of DFID’s Social exclusion (policy) framework within the timeframe of 1997-2010. The research findings identify undocumented initiatives taken by the policy entrepreneurs within aid bureaucracy. These efforts are directed not only towards benefitting the global poor but also at increasing institutional efficacy in delivering aid. Policy entrepreneurs execute these policy practices, also termed policy entrepreneurship, proactively on the political, administrative, and executive levels. Anthropological analysis and methods allow me to look beyond formal policy processes at the undocumented policy practices. Many development professionals, consultants, and office bearers while walking on the tight rope of internal policy and bearing the cross of the highly politicized organizational culture of the DFID, skilfully conveyed advice based on empirical insights to those high up. They transfer their disciplinary knowledge and empirical understandings to the policy makers and political actors in the larger interest of the development industry as well as the poor from recipient countries. On the one hand, from an anthropological perspective, this study broadens our understanding of the classical rational model of decision making within the bureaucracy. On the other hand, in the context of contemporary DFID bureaucracy, it highlights how civil servants resolve the moral-political conflict between their obligations towards the institutions they work with and their solidarity towards issues of human rights and social justice through their activism and policy entrepreneurial spirit.


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University of Sussex

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