Tag: Public Authority

Who you Gonna Call? Engaging ‘Public Authorities’ for Rapid Crisis Responses

I’m doing some interesting work with Tom Kirk at LSE as part of the CPAID research programme, on the way donors/aid agencies understand power (aka ‘public authority’) in fragile/conflict settings. As seems to be the way in academia, Tom does all the work, and I get to add my name to the result – what’s […]

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What do Witch Doctors actually do? I interviewed one to find out – their job description may surprise you

Guest post from Robin Oryem (@oryem_robin ), a researcher for LSE’s CPAID programme in Northern Uganda. As part of trying to understand how Public Authority operates in such messy places, Robin has been interviewing local witch doctors. One of the things that any Acholi person wants to avoid is to be associated with a witch doctor, […]

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Aid’s fragile state problem – why is it so hard to even think about?

I’ve spotted a recurring problem with the way the aid sector talks about fragile and conflict-affected states (FCAS). FCAS are characterized by states that are either absent or predatory – in terms of development, governments and officials are as likely to be part of the problem as part of the solution. But the aid sector, […]

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How does DFID work with non-state power holders (armed groups, faith organizations, traditional chiefs) in messy places? Interview with Wilf Mwamba

One of the highlights of the recent conference on accountability and empowerment in fragile/conflict states (see Friday’s post) was hanging out with a true ‘development entrepreneur’, Wilf Mwamba. Wilf is a rising star in DFID, set up some of the most interesting ‘adaptive management’ programmes in Nigeria, and has been in the DRC for the […]

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Escaping the Fragility Trap? Why is it so hard to think constructively about fragile states?

Just been reading the report of the ‘Commission on Fragility, Growth and Development’. Hosted by LSE and Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government; big name chairs (David Cameron, Donald Kaberuka and the LSE’s Adnan Khan). And I think it’s a bit disappointing. But the reasons for that are actually quite interesting and instructive. First the positives. […]

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Public Authority through the eyes of a Dead Fish

One of the highlights of last week’s conference in Ghent was a presentation by Esther Marijnen about her research in the Eastern Congo, conducted with Chrispin Mvano. Esther is trying to understand how rebel groups (of which DRC has many) see nature – across Africa, there is a long tradition of insurgents setting up bases in national parks. […]

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What I learned about Public Authority from spending two days with a bunch of anthropologists, political scientists and others.

The Centre for Public Authority in International Development had its annual get together in Ghent last week. It really hurt my head, but the pain was worth it – I learned a lot. Here are some overall impressions, and then tomorrow, my top lightbulb moment – public authority through the eyes of a dead fish….. […]

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Ebola Secrets: what happened when an epidemic hit a village in Sierra Leone? 

Melissa Parker, Professor of Medical Anthropology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Tim Allen, Professor of Development Anthropology at LSE and Director of the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa find long-standing customary forms of governance played a critical role in ending the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. This blog first appeared on the LSE’s Africa blog. ‘I […]

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Why is life in fragile/conflict states not more ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’? New research programme on ‘Public Authority’

Thomas Hobbes argued that states are essential to guarantee security. In their absence there would be a ‘war of all against all’ in which life would be ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short’. But in most fragile and conflict affected areas, that degree of bloodbath is strikingly absent – individuals, families and communities find ways […]

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