Centre for Global Development Annual Lecture: Professional Error and Ignorance in Development
The Centre for Global Development is pleased to welcome Prof. Robert Chambers (Institute of Development Studies, Sussex) for the 2012'13 Annual Guest Lecture.
With hindsight, looking back over the development decades, professional knowledge has again and again proved to be wrong. Professionals have also been unaware of or neglected major gaps and opportunities. This has been the case not only in more obvious policies, but also in methodologies, in development practice, and in technical and specialised fields such as agriculture, health and nutrition. This lecture will seek to present and analyse some of these errors and gaps, and explore the questions: what do they have in common? What perpetuates error? What have been our major areas of ignorance? Why do gaps remain unrecognised, unresearched and unexploited? And most importantly, what can we learn from how errors have been corrected and gaps and opportunities opened up? This will lead to asking: what are the implications for us, as development professionals, for our research, teaching and practice?
Robert Chambers is at the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, where he is a member of the Participation, Power and Social Change team. An undisciplined nomad and failed manager of rural development, his field experience has been mainly in East Africa and South Asia. His books include Rural Development: Putting the Last First; Whose Reality Counts? Putting the First Last; Ideas for Development; Revolutions in Development Inquiry; and most recently Provocations for Development. Among his current concerns and interests are professional knowledge, ignorance and error, power, and participatory methodologies including community-led total sanitation.