Author McNamara, Thomas
Article Title “They Are Not Understanding Sustainability”: Contested Sustainability Narratives at a Northern Malawian Development Interface
full text https://doi.org/10.17730/0018-7259.76.2.121
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Source Human organization vol. 76, no. 2 (Summer 2017), p. 121-130
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Call number Article
Journal Title Human organization
Copy vol. 76, no. 2 (Summer 2017), p. 121-130
ISSN 0018-7259
Brief substance Rural Malawians and development fieldworkers construct and utilize different discourses of sustainability. However, “sustainability's” positive valence impeded Malawians' interactions with NGO employees. This article explores how sustainability is reworked through locally salient economic and social understandings. It highlights the term's potential to delegitimize villagers' criticism of development projects and to obfuscate the power dynamics through which developers' expectations are confirmed and entrenched at a local level. The article uses ethnography with Tumbuka Malawians to argue that developers and beneficiaries draw upon differing cultural, moral, and institutional structures when conceptualizing sustainability. Field staff discounted villagers' critiques of development projects as rejections of sustainability and therefore as ignorance. Villagers were only seen to understand sustainability when they accepted NGO project dictates
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full text https://doi.org/10.17730/0018-7259.76.2.121

 
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