The development field as a site for research and practice has largely escaped critical scrutiny in development studies. Accounts of the conceptualisation of the field have not been complemented with an examination of the practices that maintain the field as a site conducive to development. This paper draws on experiences working with small, local NGOs in India to examine how the field is maintained, and the underlying logic that underpins the relationship between developers and “developees”. In problematising the field, I draw attention to overlooked ethical and political implications of participatory development.
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