Realigning the Political and the Technical: NGOs and the Politicization of Agrarian Development in Bolivia uri icon

abstract

  • This article engages with critiques of development intervention as de-politicizing, and with viewpoints that argue that politicization often neglects technological aspects. We examine how particular definitions of the political and technological field play a role in the growing conflict between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the so-called post-neoliberal Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) government in Bolivia. We show that NGOs appear to have found the space to respond to public confrontation and adapt their interventions to post-neoliberal politics. While the MAS government is making efforts to bring the state back in, NGOs are trying to accommodate to a highly politicized environment by highlighting their technical strengths, and filling the current void by providing technological services. The analysis shows how, in development processes, the boundaries between the political and technical domain are not fixed. Rather, they are continuously redefined in a process in which actors shift their activities (concrete practices as well as discursive justifications) between these domains.

publication date

  • 2016
  • 2016