This paper examines how anthropological fieldwork in rural development projects can contribute to bridging the realities between sophisticated ethnographic knowledge and of daily practices in development assistance.
Development ethnography as written media has been expected to illustrate the dynamics of development. It is an anthropological approach to evaluating the development practices from the view of locally constructed manner. Several valuable ethnographies of development were produced through profound qualitative analysis. However, it also lead to criticisms by development practitioners that anthropological output is produced only after the fact and the ethnography is always too long and vague to be readable for busy practitioners who have to deal with so many things while under deadlines for implementation.
I have stressed that sharing responsibility for daily events in development fields among ethnographers and development practitioners must be incarnated toward closer collaboration. Fieldwork, however, is done only as a process to write ethnography as the outcome. Those processes have not been clearly considered in relation to development practices which are going on in the same fields. Anthropologists ‘in the field’ seem to be lookers-on without any direct commitment to the practice, although the fundamental attitudes and the view of fieldwork are so stimulating.
Based on the experiences of long-term fieldwork in Indonesia and Cambodia, the essences of fieldwork such as (1) attitudes of outsiders as learners from people, (2) sharing experiences of daily life with people and (3) constructing rapport as a foundation of relationships was observed to be functioning for practitioners in reviewing their own actions relatively and modifying the approach in each specific instance and changing situations based on subjective views of local people who also are changing through inter-experiential learning.
Further discussion on correlation of fieldwork into development practices will bring more concrete synergistic effects of collaboration between a ‘practical’ knowledge of anthropology and development.
In this paper I have attempted to give the reader an alternative view of the relationship between economics and anthropology, reexamining development aid by using the term “practice” as the key concept. According to Junji Koizumi, an anthropologist, the essential meaning of “practice” lies in the act of doing something, which specifically involves the following four actions: 1) to collect the data and information through one's own fieldwork; 2) to try to make one's own research more actor-oriented; 3) to reflect on one's own act of fieldwork; and 4) to act for something that has been revealed by the actions mentioned above.
I have extended the use of such “anthropological practice” to apply to those who are not anthropologists by profession but who have been actually engaging in anthropological practice, in order to reinvestigate the relationship between economics and anthropology, beyond academic concerns. To usher the audience from other than those two disciplines, a narrative of my personal journey from economics to anthropology over the years of research on the poverty and socioeconomic lives of ethnic minorities in the Philippines is also employed.
This paper consists of five sections. Section 1 is the Introduction. Section 2 clarifies my position as an outsider of the so-called “development industry,” while describing it as an insider-outsider with one foot in Japan and the other in the Philippines with vague accountabilities to people in both countries. Section 3 provides a brief review on the literature on the distance between economics and anthropology in development studies. Section 4 is intended to find “anthropological practice” in the writings of W. Easterly, a prominent development economist who used to work with the World Bank. Section 5 illustrates the struggle of a Filipino surgeon-turned-cooperative-man to fight against poverty as a case-study of those who, outside the development industry, commit themselves to specific economic problems in their own localities and strive to create alternative institutions to improve the situations. Finally, Section 6 refers to the concept of the trans-national identity responsive to others in “glocal” public philosophy by Naoshi Yamawaki, which helps the author reconcile the conflicting sense of accountability of her actions beyond national boundaries.
This article concerns how to draw lessons from the evaluation of development projects. The first part examines why a good lesson is difficult to gain. The first problem relates to the perspective of logframe. The scope of evaluation based on a logframe tends to be narrow, focusing mainly on the logic of the narrative summary in the logframe with little interest in social dynamics outside of the project. Consequently neither the outside influences on the project nor the impacts of the project on the society attract due attention. Such a narrow focus only produces superficial lessons. The second problem concerns the practice of lesson drawing in actual evaluation procedure. Japan International Cooperation Agency's manual for project evaluation, for example, is conscious of the first problem, but vague about how to solve it. A not so helpful manual could be a cause for unsound evaluation.
The second part of the article suggests that the use of ethnography is effective for improving the quality of lessons. Ethnography is a method for describing a culture in detail, criticizing the assumption of cultural homogeneity and continuity. Moreover, it recognizes the limitation of description as a partial truth and hence warns against a naive belief in the objectivity of cultural analysis. Applying an ethnographic evaluation to PAPROSOC, a rural development project done by Japanese government in Mexico, the article examines a lesson written in the official evaluation report. The introduction of the life improvement approach, popular during the postwar period in rural Japan, was effective for PAPROSOC's target group as the lesson states, but with limited success. The reason is the difference of social dynamics between postwar Japan and contemporary Mexico. Thus, a real lesson should be that we pay more attention to the social dynamics in which target group lives so that we can elaborate the life improvement approach both theoretically and practically.
This paper examines the causes of lack of mutual understanding, or so-called “rupture,” between development assistance and anthropology as seen from the Japanese development agency's point of view. The focus on poverty reduction, participatory development and the “human security” approach in recent Japanese ODA policy engenders growing interest in the social and cultural aspects of development interventions rendered by the Japanese ODA programmes; hence the growing recognition and more frequent use of “social surveys,” including placement of development anthropologists. In practice, however, information and knowledge on the target societies seldom influence, in any meaningful way, the design and implementation of development interventions. How can this knowledge better inform development interventions?
First, on the aid side, the law of causality employed in the logical framework of development interventions requires that whatever information and knowledge is acquired through “social surveys” must be incorporated in the causality chain; this is not the case at present. In order for this to happen, efforts are necessary to make such knowledge as explicit and tangible as possible, so that they are counted as independent variables that constitute the subjective rationality of individuals. On the part of aid practitioners, it is equally important that understanding of people's lives is broadened. Aid practitioners ought to adopt a holistic view of people's livelihoods and an approach that views economic activities as “embedded” in the society in question.
Secondly, anthropologists need to know that one of the main concerns of development intervention is the management of resources, be it schools, clinics or water supply facilities, and the capacity of people involved in the use and maintenance of such. As Japan puts greater emphasis on capacity development as one of the main components of aid effectiveness, more can be done by anthropologists using their process-oriented and descriptive methods of research to generate information regarding change of cognition, norms and social relationships within the society in question.
Practicing anthropological development aid means to face the people (all the people involved in the development, including myself when the connection comes around) through the shelving and/or inspection of what is systemized, orderly classified or conceptualized without taking it at face value. That inevitably leads to considering how systematization and conceptualization of the disadvantaged was done by the powerful and what condition and structure underlies such formation. For such considerations, attention must be given to all trivial everyday happenings— ‘anthropology from the bottom perspective’. The ‘bottom perspective’ does not limit its meaning to a consideration from the bottom of the economic strata. It also indicates considerations of everyday conditions and the real perceptions on hand, by capturing the diverse context of the person's life regardless of authority, class, position or occupation. For anthropologists who just begin their process of becoming experts in the field by coming to the development site, it is not easy to become familiar with the development field. This is due to the uncertainty of whether they can produce outstanding achievements during the pre-determined aid period. In that respect, anthropologists often feel distanced from other experts and practitioners involved in the development. However, as long as all practices are based on the hope for the happiness of the people who are the subjects of development, no one can be singled out as not being correct. Even when individuals with diverse ‘manners’ happen to be together, that distance should be converted to productive conflicting perspectives, which are resources towards producing better results. ‘Anthropological knowledge from the bottom perspective’ can grasp and translate the condition of all actors in the development aid. It is presumed as one means of resolving regrettable misunderstandings that tend to occur at the field site of development aid. In this study, the author verifies these hypotheses through his experience with CBR practice.
This paper investigates the regional fiscal disparity across Chinese provinces after 1994 when the tax system was changed. From the description analysis, it is found that fiscal transfer from the central to the local government is not enough for decreasing regional income disparity though some efforts are seen.
On the other hand, the regional disparity of fiscal revenue is serious. From the efficiency analysis by using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), the region which corrects fiscal revenue efficiently or inefficiently is clarified. Moreover, the paper shows that the mean of the efficiency score has decreased and it accelerates the expanding disparity of fiscal revenue. DEA calculation and its statistical tests suggest that the efficiency of fiscal expenditure and fiscal transfer across provinces is not changed during the sample period.
From these results, we suggest that it is necessary to improve the fiscal revenue ability of the local government more.
In this paper, I observe the efficiency of electric power regulatory agencies, which are essential for liberated electric power sectors. Using the results of an original survey made in 2005-2006 on the regulatory agencies of 49 countries, the efficiency was compared between countries, using both DEA (Data Envelopment Analysis) and SFA (Stochastic Frontier). Factors of efficiency were also observed. From the data obtained by questionnaires, a large structural difference was recognized between the developing countries, countries in transition, and developed countries. In addition, by observing the factors of efficiency differences, higher GDP per capita and higher level of democratization contributed to the efficiency of regulatory agencies. The results show that the larger dependence on the budget from customer charge, and the larger the number of functions, the efficiency is getting worse. This means that to increase efficiency scores, it is imperative to develop economy and improve democratization, but to realize independence of regulatory agencies, it needs to lessen the number of functions, and to depend on the governmental budget. However, regulatory agencies in both developed countries and developing countries are required to respond to more complex tasks and to be financially independent. This brings the need to take a balance in trading off of the finance, efficiency, and management of necessary functions highly important.
This paper is concerned with international perception gaps in management of Project-based Technical Cooperation Project (PTC) conducted by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The first section reviews the environment of PTC and finds that PTC is questioned in terms of its effectiveness and relevancy. Moreover, Japanese international assistance including PTC has shifted its geographical focus from Asia to Africa. Thus, the paper asserts that the way of managing PTC needs to be reconsidered. The second section reviews management of PTC from the perspective of general project management. PTC is found to be one of the most complicated projects compared to general (simple) projects and it requires practical capacities of management other than orthodox management. Although PTC is very complicated, the management of PTC has not been studied and the responsibility of managing PTC is left to project members who are forced to manage in ad hoc manner. By its nature, PTC is influenced by different stakeholders who have unique perspectives influenced by own cultures and ways of thinking. The third section analyzes perceptions related to management of PTC in Africa. The author critically reviews the assumption that African countries have different cultures compared to western (developed) countries and Asian countries. The third section analyzes the results of a questionnaire survey of 5 PTCs in Zambia, which involve 14 Japanese and 15 Zambians. The survey reveals a significant gap between Japanese and Zambians in their perceptions of “success criteria” and “success factors” of PTC. Besides, the author found the perception gaps even in other groupings, while there is a considerable perception gap among individuals even of the same group. The fourth section discusses future directions for further studies of management of PTC.