Governing the Borderlands: Decoding the Power of Aid
Article first published online: 16 DEC 2002
Overseas Development Institute, 2001.
Special Issue: Politics and humanitarian aid
Volume 25, Issue 4, pages 308–320, December 2001
How to Cite
Duffield, M. (2001), Governing the Borderlands: Decoding the Power of Aid. Disasters, 25: 308–320. doi: 10.1111/1467-7717.00180
- Issue published online: 16 DEC 2002
- Article first published online: 16 DEC 2002
- Cited By
- global governance;
- human security;
This article examines aid practice, that is, the public-private contractual networks that link donor governments, UN agencies, military establishments, NGOs, private companies and others, as a relation of global liberal governance. In order to fulfil this function, such networks embody what could be called the ‘securitisation’ of international assistance. Based upon ideas of human security and ameliorating the effects of poverty and vulnerability reduction, aid is now seen as playing a direct security role. Rather than being concerned with relations between states, the primary aim of this security paradigm is to modulate and change the behaviour of populations within them. In doing so, it is able to exploit the opportunities afforded by privatisation. At the same time, however, aid as security is confronted by its own particular problem of ‘governing at a distance’: how can calculations made by leading states be transformed into actions at the global edge when a multitude of private and non-government implementors now intervene? The article concludes by examining the contribution of risk analysis to solving this problem and, especially, the development of new contractual regimes based around technical standardisation, benchmarking and performance auditing. Through such technologies, metropolitan states are learning how to manage the public-private networks of aid practice and, as a result, to govern the borderlands in new ways.