This article is dedicated to Ranjit Dwivedi, who joined the Development Policy and Practice (DPP) Department at the Open University in September 2001 from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS). He died after a short illness in February 2002, but his intellectual contribution and enthusiasm to DPP during his brief period at the Department will always be remembered by the author. It was with Ranjit that I shared my preliminary ideas about professional expertise in development and he encouraged me to go away and produce this paper. Alas, he never saw any drafts — his incisive comments would surely have improved it. I do, however, gratefully acknowledge the contributions of two anonymous reviewers who provided substantial and thought-provoking comments on the original submission. Responsibility for the final content is, of course, the author's alone.
Beyond the Technocrat? The Professional Expert in Development Practice
Article first published online: 16 JUN 2006
Development and Change
Volume 37, Issue 3, pages 501–523, May 2006
How to Cite
Wilson, G. (2006), Beyond the Technocrat? The Professional Expert in Development Practice. Development and Change, 37: 501–523. doi: 10.1111/j.0012-155X.2006.00488.x
- Issue published online: 16 JUN 2006
- Article first published online: 16 JUN 2006
This article traces the use of the term ‘technocratic’ to describe development practice, and the concomitant use of ‘technocrat’ to describe professional experts who engage in development work. It locates the use of these terms as pejorative labels within understandings of professional experts as part of an apparatus of governmentality that depoliticizes development intervention. It argues, however, that such understandings miss the crucial point of engagement in development practice between these agents and other actors which opens ‘learning spaces’ that have the potential for a range of outcomes.