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Accepted Paper:

The meanings of mobilities: claims to authoritative knowledge of the local and the global in the Angolan development experience  
Rebecca Peters (The Maxwell School, Syracuse University)

Paper long abstract:

Based on multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork in Angola, including 12 consecutive months in 2008-9, this paper examines how international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) strategically (re)present the translocal biographies of staff members in order to make claims to authoritative knowledge. One international good governance program under study cultivated a reputation for extensive local knowledge and expertise simultaneously with a reputation for global "best practices" in democratization and development by strategically trumpeting or hiding staff members' birthplaces, family connections, linguistic abilities, and educational and professional histories, among other products of their translocal mobilities, as needed. The paper focuses on how one man's trajectory - from Angola to Britain and back - was differentially presented to donors, government officials, and community members as befitted the program's reputational needs. This case and others provide empirical evidence of the production and negotiation of the contested continuum of locality and internationality in the modern world through mobilities and their representation.

Panel W001
A new virtue? Imaginaries and regimes of mobility across the globe
  Session 1