Time: 09.30 -12.00

Dr David Lewis is an anthropologist based at the Department of Social Policy and the Civil Society Centre at the London School of Economics (LSE).

The world of international development needs to embrace contemporary anthropological theory and methods, and at the same time development must be central to both empirical and theoretical concerns of anthropology. The starting point is the premise that ethnographic research can provide policymakers and aid managers with valuable reflective insights into the operations and effectiveness of international development as a complex set of local, national, and cross-cultural social interactions; and it is no longer possible to isolate interactions in the realm of development from those related to state apparatus, civil society, or wider national or international political, economic, and administrative practices. In other words, an anthropology of development is inextricably an anthropology of contemporary Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

David Lewis has together with David Mosse brought together a number of anthropologists engaged in development research to show how ethnography can be an indispensable tool for understanding these complex and dynamic relationships.

The world that this ethnography of development reveals does not divide neatly into the developers and the developed. It is a world in which interests and practices are always hybrids, where the realms of reason and the real world are not neatly separate, and in which rational policy representations frequently conceal the messiness of practice that precedes the ideas and technologies of development.

Lewis is best known for his work on Bangladesh, the anthropology of NGOs, the anthropology of development and the theme of the given seminar.

Recent publications:
Lewis, David. (2007) The management of non-governmental development organisations. 2nd edition. Routledge.

Lewis, David; Mosse, D. (2006), 'Encountering order and disjuncture: Contemporary anthropological perspectives on the organisation of development.' Oxford Development Studies 34, no. 1 pp. 1-13.

Lewis, David; Opoku-Mensah, P. (2006), 'Moving forward research agendas on international NGOs: Theory, agency and context.' Journal of International Development 18, no. 5 pp. 665-675.

Lewis, David. (2005) 'Anthropology and development: the uneasy relationship.' In Handbook of economic anthropology. Edited by Carrier, J. Edward Elgar, , pp. 472-488.

Moss, D & Lewis, D (2005) The Aid Effect: Ethnographies of Development Practice and Neo-liberal Reform. Pluto Press; Gardner, K & Lewis, D (1996) Anthropology, Development And The Post-Modern Challenge. Pluto Press.