Camelia Dewan, PhD student, University of London

Climate Change Adaptation as Development Discourse and Practice

This paper contrasts the issues of sedimentation, dying rivers, eroding embankments and a clear demand for ‘maintenance’ with current ‘development discourses’ among various development professionals in Dhaka and Khulna to discuss the ideas, relations and practices that influence and shape the contradiction between ecological reality and development projects on ‘climate change adaptation’. I first introduce the frustrations of Bangladeshi civil society members in Khulna and how they feel that their concerns and priorities are not being addressed by those development professionals in Dhaka - the hub of politics and development aid in Bangladesh. I then discuss how this may relate to wider issues in the Anthropology of Development, from the shift from seeing such dynamics as a hegemonic discourse, to development as a ‘technical game’ (Rottenburg 2009) and as assemblages of heterogeneous development actors that through their networks create and sustain a variety of translations of ‘development’ (Mosse and Lewis 2006). I argue that those translations that lack brokerage embedded in local context and local needs, tend to fail the coastal populations of Bangladesh as they fail to provide the means to address these underlying issues tied to land-use and ecology, that are ignored when Bangladesh is merely seen as a ‘climate change victim’. 

All seminars in the series.