Magic in practice: an investigation of the seduction of audiences of an evaluation report
Tjitske Holtrop (AISSR- University of Amsterdam)
Paper short abstract:
This paper will juxtapose different presentations of a development evaluation report to investigate what goes into these rituals of accountability and how the seduction of its audiences succeeds or fails.
Paper long abstract:
This paper is about the presentation of a report about the Dutch military and development intervention in Afghanistan in 2010. This report was commissioned by the Dutch government to communicate the effects of four years of military and developmental presence in the Southern Afghan province of Uruzgan to its constituencies. The research was done by an Afghan research organization. The two Afghan directors came to the Netherlands to present the report, favored over the German lead of the research because of their charm, knowledge and also, because they were Afghan. Over the four days that the directors were in the Netherlands for the presentation of the report, they spoke about Uruzgan and Afghanistan to many different people ranging from the parliament, academic and civil society partners, task force Uruzgan, the head of International Cooperation of the Ministry, the Ministry of Defense, and the Australian Embassy. Each context demanded a different emphasis of the different conclusions and recommendations, producing different narratives, anecdotes, progress and failures. This paper will juxtapose these different presentations to investigate what goes into these rituals of accountability and how the seduction of its audiences succeeds or fails.
Rituals of development: the magic of a modernising project