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Democratic Technologies of Speech: From WWII America to Postcolonial Delhi


Department of Anthropology
University of Michigan
1085 S. University Ave.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1107


This article traces putatively democratic speech and interactional techniques from their development during WWII to their translation into postindependence Delhi community development projects led by Ford Foundation consultants. Moving beyond a focus on high-level development discourse, this article describes the techniques of speech through which development was brought to ground and the ways of speaking that community development promoted in its target populations. The deployment of these techniques in Delhi shows how the promotion of democracy aggressively attacked existing forms of sociality within the city. [speech genres, democracy, technology, development, India]