This review examines how international development has been studied by anthropologists, both as a particular form of institutional practice and as the terms of global economic and cultural integration. This review also explains a shift from an anthropological critique of the discursive power of development toward the ethnographic treatment of development as a category of practice. It reviews research into organizational and knowledge practices, and the life-worlds of “Aidland,” before turning to anthropological approaches to neoliberal development and the new aid architecture and, finally, to three significant current issues: the importance of business in development and corporate social responsibility; the donor focus on poverty as the result of the failure of government, conflict, and insecurity; and the growing importance of new donors such as China and India. This review concludes with comments about how engagement with international development has encouraged reflection on the practice of anthropology itself.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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