Mutual complicity and project law in development cooperation - A comment
Entwicklungsethnologie 14.2005:149-158

##My comments on Markus Weilenmann's case study on the role of project law in international aid deal wilh four issues. While acknowledging the importance of "chains of translations" in structuring the conception, planning and implementation of development projects, I suggest making a distinction between creative misunderstandings and deliberate distortions which have very different implications for both donors and recipients of aid as well as for the so called target groups. Moreover, I point out the necessity of moving beyond the standardisation of vocabulary in development documents to examine practices of mutual complicity of donors and recipients within policy networks. Secondly, I expound the problems of the category of customary law by placing it in the context of (post)colonial transformations. Thirdly, in contrast to the rather capacious understanding of "project law" in the paper, I propose a more restricted definition which would subsume neither policy reform nor the diffusion of Western values as part of the process of development aid. Finally, I stress the need to broaden the legal anthropological research agenda on project law to include a study of its impact on the differential nature of citizenship rights as well as the fragmentation of state sovereignty.##

Keywords: project law, western values, development projects, international aid