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Seeing like bureaucracies : rearranging knowledge and ignorance in Somalia.

Bakonyi, Jutta (2018) 'Seeing like bureaucracies : rearranging knowledge and ignorance in Somalia.', International political sociology., 12 (3). pp. 256-273.

Abstract

Development promotes bureaucratization, and bureaucracies are based on knowledge and produce knowledge. Failures of development are therefore regularly attributed to a lack of knowledge. The article argues that the quest for knowledge is embedded in the managerial rationality of interventions. This rationality also structures the developmental knowledge field and thereby generates ignorance. The example of a state-building program in Somalia is used to empirically explore how the generation, administration, and transfer of knowledge was intertwined with ignorance. It shows what knowledge missed, obfuscated, ignored, or even hid and how knowledge and ignorance were arranged in the daily state-building practice. This approach sheds light on relations and mechanism of power exerted in development and helps to explain its effects. In Somalia, omission, silence, secrecy, and strategic and bureaucratic ignorance enabled the program to delineate the interventionist terrain as technical and to depoliticize state-building. They also helped to expand liberal modalities of government to “remote” and “unruly” Somali villages.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1093/ips/oly010
Publisher statement:© The Author(s) (2018). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Studies Association. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com
Date accepted:21 February 2018
Date deposited:01 May 2018
Date of first online publication:29 May 2018
Date first made open access:05 June 2018

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