The concept of affectedness in international development

Jokubauskaite, G. (2020) The concept of affectedness in international development. World Development, 126, 104700. (doi: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.104700)

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The groups who experience direct impacts of development projects are generally known as ‘affected people’. This category is gaining traction in the governance of international financial institutions (IFIs) and is arguably becoming ubiquitous in contemporary development discourse. In this paper I investigate what ‘affectedness’ means, and also what it should mean in development context. The aim is to examine the grounds based on which the scope of affected people can be ascertained, and to underline the conceptual but also practical difficulties associated with this exercise. The proposed analysis is predominantly theoretical. It builds on the debate about the ‘all-affected principle’, as well as the theory of democratic inclusion by Iris Marion Young. My main argument is that currently the idea of affectedness functions as a boundary of inclusion/exclusion in the governance of development projects. I therefore suggest that leaving this category entirely open-ended also leaves it exposed to arbitrariness of decision-makers. This is problematic, because generally consultations that include affected people are seen as conveying legitimacy and proving social support to development initiatives. Without principled approach to affectedness, this process of selecting who should be consulted and who should not, enables an unjustified exclusion of the most vulnerable communities. This paper suggests that in the context of international development the most plausible ground for inclusion is vulnerability, which can be articulated by using the notion of structural social groups developed by Iris Young. These two concepts combined offer a principled enough approach for decision-makers to identify the minimal scope of affected persons.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jokubauskaite, Dr Giedre
Authors: Jokubauskaite, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Journal Name:World Development
ISSN (Online):1873-5991
Published Online:22 October 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Published by Elsevier Ltd
First Published:First published in World Development 126:104700
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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