Accepted paper:

The European Commission in Pygmyland: ritualized accountability and the appearance of development


Stan Frankland (St. Andrews University)

Paper short abstract:

A resettlement project and the role of public performances of development.

Paper long abstract:

The Sua Pygmies of the Semliki Forest in Western Uganda have a long history of well-meaning intervention from external agencies. Over the years, there have been various attempts there to 'resettle' them away from the forest and to uplift and empower them. This paper looks at certain performances and spectacles of development that have taken place during the wave of post-civil war redevelopment that came to the Semliki Valley in the aftermath of the Allied Democratic Forces insurgency into the area. In 2007, the Sua were the recipients of resettlement project, run by a 'consortium' of 'local' organisations and funded by the European Commission to Uganda. Certain key events became central to the process of the project's development and the way in which it was monitored. These ritualized and repetitive spectacles were key in creating an appearance of development and they were also a critical element in the process of corruption that finally led to the end of the project.

panel P29
Rituals of development: the magic of a modernising project