Around the world, the realities of underdevelopment are harsh and galling, and current strategies are not working well enough or quickly enough. One reason, Robert Klitgaard argues in this pathbreaking book, is that the strategies don’t take cultural diversity into account. Gently but firmly, he shows how and why anthropology and cultural studies have not been effectively applied. But it need not be so.
The Culture and Development Manifesto shows how to mobilize knowledge from and for the disadvantaged, the indigenous, and the voiceless. Looking beyond interactions between cultural contexts and particular projects, Klitgaard seeks new ways to think about goals, new kinds of alternatives, new and perhaps hybrid ways to implement or resist, and, as a result, new kinds of politics. In short, this remarkable book fundamentally re-envisions what development policy can be.
"The Culture and Development Manifesto seeks to open a path between two disciplines that often seem hermetically sealed, cultural anthropology and development economics. It will be of immense use to any practitioner working at this highly fraught boundary.”
—Francis Fukuyama, Stanford University
"This book is a brilliant plea, subtly combining scholarship, examples, and common sense, to mobilize the competencies of anthropologists for a better adaptation of development policies to local conditions. It is based on a robust premise: in the confrontation between the interventions of development agencies and the social contexts in which they are implemented (local cultures), the many failures do not stem from a refusal of development by the populations but from an incapacity of public policy experts to take local cultures into account. The final proposal—convening dialogues between experts, anthropologists, and local actors—is highly stimulating."
—Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Marseilles, and LASDEL, Niamey, Niger; author of Anthropology and Development.
“In this highly engaging book, Klitgaard not only brings economics and culture into dialog with each other, he goes beyond ‘culture matters’ to demonstrate what ‘taking culture into account’ may mean in practice. This is a book that only Klitgaard, with his sharp multidisciplinary lens, wealth of on-the-ground experience, and remarkable penmanship, could have pulled off.”
—Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy, Harvard Kennedy School
“As anthropologists and management consultants know, sometimes it takes an outsider to show the value of an idea. In this provocative and thoughtful book, Klitgaard shows that it may take an outsider (an economist, no less) to show how the study of culture holds practical lessons for human development. Rather than seeing ‘culture’ as an obstacle to development and wellbeing, he shows how both creativity and collaboration emerge from bringing together on equal footing different, even competing, beliefs and ways of looking at the world. Connecting the dots between theory and policy, he offers a practical and useful ‘convening framework’ to operationalize this model. Policy makers as well as scholars and practitioners of development should read this book and work to implement its conclusions.”
—Edward F. Fischer, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies, Vanderbilt University
"Can cultural anthropology and international development team up in a way that creates mutual respect and contextually sensitive projects, programs, or social movements – ones that fit? How common is an author with kind heart, hard head, and lucid pen; one intimately familiar too with scholars, program designers, and powerful officials? That’s right; both disciplines need this book."
—Parker Shipton, Professor of Anthropology, Boston University
"A proposition universally accepted, it seems, is that culture should (must) be taken into account in international development work. However, there is zero consensus as to how best to do so. Worse, the pitfalls on the path to integrating cultural approaches make many duck and avoid the topic altogether. Bob Klitgaard has grappled with this dilemma for many years, on the ground and in the academy. In The Culture and Development Manifesto, he sets out the challenges and their historic evolution with lucid clarity (and a host of stories), and offers some sensible, if demanding, ways forward. "
—Katherine Marshall, Georgetown University and Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue; author of Development and Faith.
Selected as one of the six best nonfiction books of 1990 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review.
“Has the twists and surprises of fiction. But it is not made up. A reader learns much from it about why our approaches to the Third World are often mischievous failures. In the end it even leads one to question the wisdom of the whole process we call development.” —New York Times’ Books of the Century.
2013. If Tropical Gangsters is like a non-fiction novel, Tropical Gangsters II is like a set of non-fiction short stories. Stories about corrupt states and cynical cultures, but also about idealism and practical choices.
“A must read for anyone who is concerned about the problems of endemic poverty and understanding the forces that inhibit effective change.” —Timothy Besley, London School of Economics
1988. "Reading this book convinced me we can actually do something about corruption." —Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International.
“A most worthwhile book, both for its insights into anticorruption policies and for the academic debate about more general questions that it will certainly create.”
—American Political Science Review
2000. Tackling corruption can be a leverage point for creating inclusive, just, and efficient local governments.
“This small gem of a book...is an exemplar of the transfer of economic principles into the practice of public management.” —Journal of Economic Literature
2015. How can providers and recipients of development assistance work together to tackle corruption? For an outsider’s take on the book, see Daniel Little, “Corruption and Institutional Design,” Understanding Society, 2017. https://undsoc.org/2017/11/
2005. “This sometimes sprawling but hugely insightful work is the first significant public management book about performance in the new century. It rivals John Roberts’ The Modern Firm currently regarded by many (this reviewer included) as the best business book thus far on performance in the 21st century.” —The Public Manager
1991. A study of policies to make markets work better, make governments work better, and close the economic gaps among ethnic groups. “Lively and highly readable…goes beyond the abstractions of academia and the slogans of the World Bank to present a step-by-step guide to identifying problems and implementing the recommended policies."
—Journal of Economic Literature
1986. “This groundbreaking book…should be required reading for social scientists, both in universities and outside them, who are seriously interested in the important roles and impacts of education in developing countries.” —The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences
1985. Listed in The Harvard Guide to Influential Books. “One of the most comprehensive theoretical and empirical examinations ever undertaken on choosing an elite… Klitgaard’s illuminating tour de force leads the reader to understand the leading philosophies of elite selection, and he does so in the clearest and most thorough exposition yet composed on this subject”—The American Scholar
1986. "Gives a lively discussion of exploratory data analysis using real problems. It should help both students and professional policy analysts." —Frederick Mosteller, Harvard University and President of the American Statistical Association.
"Stunningly good" —Richard J. Light, Harvard University
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