قدرت و سلسله مراتب دانش: بررسی یک دهه از ارتباط بانک جهانی با آفریقای جنوبی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|22976||2009||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||13235 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Geoforum, Volume 39, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 236–251
This article presents a case study of the World Bank’s relationship with South Africa to argue that the Bank uses its knowledge brokering role as a device to facilitate the development of a lending relationship with countries that may initially be reluctant to enter into this kind of engagement. This article reviews the World Bank’s 10-year effort to develop a lending relationship with South Africa. The Bank inserted itself into the country in the early 1990s at the outset of its democratic transformation. Throughout the decade, South Africa acceded to the Bank’s policy interventions through technical assistance rather than through a concerted lending programme. In doing so, South Africa internalized the Bank’s market-driven political economy framework underlying its technical assistance programme. The country’s application of the Bank’s knowledge has had questionable outcomes for its development agenda. While the Bank’s ‘expert’ interventions may have offered valuable technical insights, it neglected the politics of distribution that are embedded in a more localized knowledge formation process. The result has led to the instrumentalization of local governance and undermined the engagement of civil society actors in the construction of a democratic state at the local level.
Knowledge generated by and for ‘global’ centers of power may in fact tell us very little about poverty as it is actually lived in everyday experience (Patel and Rademacher, 2002, p. 167). The World Bank’s central role in defining and promoting development orthodoxy is well-documented (George and Sabelli, 1994 and Wade, 2002). A common thread in articles that critique the World Bank’s development impact portray it as a monolithic unit, acting in the interests of Northern stakeholders, with a unidirectional imposition of aid conditionalities on recipient countries (Gibbon, 1992, Watkins, 1994 and Hildyard and Wilks, 1998). The development literature has made a contribution to understanding the negative impacts of these policy conditions, mainly via structural adjustment programmes (O’Brien, 1994 and Mwase, 1999), and those tracing the outcomes at the local scale (Osmont, 1995 and Zannetta, 2001). These critiques have, however, been primarily structural in their analysis of macro-economic frameworks and lack a nuanced understanding of how power operates in the dissemination of information between, rather than from, the Bank and a recipient country. A number of authors have focused on the contested nature of development discourse and knowledge production within the Bank (Bebbington et al., 2004 and Goldman, 2001). Within the general literature on development knowledge production and prioritizing technologies and science (Scott, 1999 and Escobar, 1995), a much needed focus is beginning to appear on the interactive process of knowledge formation between a recipient country from the South and a Northern based lending institution (see Bell, 2002 for a good analysis of this). This interactive process reveals the formation of hierarchies of knowledge and the power wielded through these hierarchies. Rather than revealing a direct line of causality between World Bank policies to increasing poverty and rising inequality in a Third World country, this second line of enquiry-one that emphasizes knowledge formation as an interactive process that is time, place and people specific-gives the nation state and its complex myriad of institutional and civil society actors, agency in making policy choices. This article provides an unusual case study of the Bank’s liaison with a country-in-transition by focusing on its relationship with South Africa. The article illustrates how South Africa received over a decade (1990–2002) of technical assistance at virtually no cost to its treasury, but in doing so internalized a ‘redistribution through growth’ political economy framework that was heavily mediated by the Bank’s assistance. The Bank’s traditional power has been wielded through its lending policies by commanding influence and leverage. The nature of the Bank’s power in South Africa was subtler by virtue of its role as a knowledge broker. The fact that the Bank was in a non-lending relationship with South Africa, with no aid conditionalities, may have contributed to South Africa being more receptive to the Bank’s role in shaping development options for the country. This kind of reception was sorely lacking in its relationship with countries where Structural Adjustment Programme conditionalities were in place. The realm of criticism, in this case, lies not in how the Bank uniformly shaped South African development practices, but rather, how the government internalized the Bank’s hierarchy of knowledge in its own approach to the reconstruction of the state. Essentially, the state prioritized a technical and scientific knowledge over a political one. The outcome of this hierarchy has shaped national and local government decision-making processes by adhering to recommendations from best practices, offered by ‘experts’ from elsewhere, or through local consultants adept at using desktop studies to resolve problems that are specific to a South African context. While externally produced knowledge may offer valuable insights at a technical level, it does not address the politics of distribution that are embedded in a more localized knowledge formation process. This hierarchy of knowledge has displaced the opening up of alternative frameworks driven by civil society voices for providing solutions to service delivery problems. This article traces the Bank’s involvement in South Africa through three phases. The changing nature of assistance over this 13 year (1990–2002)3 period reveals not only the momentous changes within South Africa but also the shifting identity of the Bank from a lending institution to a ‘Knowledge Bank’ (Stone, 2002). The timing of the transition to this new identity coincided with the Bank’s adoption of a new realm of influence through a policy of non-lending operations involving technical assistance (World Bank, 2002a and World Bank, 2002b). For instance, rather than the Bank lending to national governments through sectoral avenues, its new impetus was to foster technical assistance through smaller lending programmes to local authorities through various programmes such as the Water and Sanitation Programme, the World Bank Institute, and later, the Cities Alliance Programme. In the case of the latter, when South Africa became a board member of the Cities Alliance in 2004, it was in a better position to receive technical assistance on informal settlement upgrading and City Development Strategies, the two core focus areas of this World Bank programme. The article illustrates a case study on South Africa to argue that the Bank uses its knowledge brokering role as a device to facilitate the development of a lending relationship with countries that may initially be wary of this kind of engagement. The implication of this change in assistance patterns reveals a shift from explicit forms of aid conditionalities, associated with the Bank’s past lending policies, to an implicit influence in shaping local development through technical knowledge that is packaged as “best practice” (Tomlinson, 2002 and Gilbert, 2002). The sheer magnitude of knowledge production of the Bank, let alone the degree to which it is highly regarded by decision-makers in many countries, makes the knowledge generated by the Bank’s country observations and studies very influential. Gosovic puts it succinctly: ‘The Bank no longer has to rely on its financial clout alone, as it is winning arguments upstream. Through its global and national-level studies, and its extensive network of official, journalist and academic contacts, the Bank has a strong influence on policy debate even where it is not lending (2001: p. 8). In the case of South Africa, the subtler exogenous influences via best practices were brought in through the Bank’s small loan for municipal technical assistance. This indirect approach to policy persuasion was coupled with direct interventions via the Bank’s dynamic resident representative in the early to mid-1990s. During his stay, Junaid Ahmad as the Bank’s representative, contributed to national policy for municipal infrastructure and conducted site visits out of which came recommendations for municipal fiscal reform. This article pays particular attention to the external influence in the creation of the Urban Infrastructure Investment Framework, drafted in November 1994 and March 1995 (later known as the Municipal Infrastructure Investment Framework (MIIF)) because it illustrates how South Africa internalized the Bank’s technical assistance by producing its own hierarchy of knowledge formation. The country’s policy choices on infrastructure investment overlooked the intensely political nature of providing low levels of infrastructure investment to historically marginalized communities and its significance in reproducing inequality through service provision.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
After a decade of technical assistance, the Bank’s knowledge brokering and lending roles finally converged. The Bank has been able to secure a technical assistance loan based on its ability to broker its expertise both internationally and within the South Africa on “best practices” on municipal financial management. The uniqueness of this relationship was confirmed by the World Bank project appraisal document for the loan: The objective of accessing global experience and expertise from within and outside the Bank rather than assessing finance through the Bank system has defined the relationship between South Africa and the World Bank Group since the early nineties. The relationship and its focus on access to knowledge as distinct from finance started around the time the Bank itself was beginning to define the “Knowledge Bank” …. In deciding to access a Technical Assistance (TA) loan, SANT and Government of South Africa are exploring an important step, to institutionalize the “knowledge” engagement with the Bank that has successfully defined the relationship for over a decade. This presents an important turning point for the Bank’s relationship with South Africa … because it is a step in the institutionalization of a unique country relationship (World Bank, 2002a and World Bank, 1991). While the Bank may have used South Africa in the early to mid 1990s as the guinea pig through which to develop its knowledge brokering role, by the late 1990s the Bank’s practice of integration of its knowledge and lending functions was commonplace. Wilks and Lefrancois note that the Bank have strong influence on policy debates even where it is not lending but: the Bank is clearly in the most influential position where it can combine its ‘knowledge’ and lending functions, imposing conditions to support its advice (2002, p. 8). The problem with this ‘advice’ is that it feeds the Bank’s development agenda by producing knowledge that is centralized and absolutist, drawing on economistic and technocratic models (Wilks and Lefrancois, 2002, Tandon, 2000 and Mehta, 2001). The clout of the Bank’s influence in knowledge production creates a de facto acceptance by important national level decision-makers and local bureaucrats of the associated recommendations. What is left out of the analysis, however, are the localized sociocultural issues and those concerning the wider political economy, both of which shed light on the politics of distribution. How then, has the country’s increasing reliance on technical knowledge, most often expressed through the contracting of external private sector actors, affected democracy at the local level? Perhaps one of the greatest drawbacks of the Bank’s involvement in South Africa through technical assistance is the instrumentalization of local government. This has, in the author’s view, undermined the intrinsic value of local governance. The failure of the local government transformation process to build effective systems of local accountability remains a central flaw in the transition process. While the Bank may have been a contributor here, the real culprit has been the South African state’s own hierarchy of knowledge. Nationally driven policy, and its related responsibilities for implementation have been devolved to a weak local sphere of government. As municipalities have been conceptualized as the ultimate vehicle for the state’s service delivery functions, regardless of the varying degrees of capacity, most municipalities have become dangerously reliant on consultants for both the local design and implementation of policy. The desire for quick solutions in order to raise revenue, meet budget deadlines and ensure municipal compliance to national legislation has resulted in municipalities having little time or patience for the voice of civil society, ie: for listening to alternative frameworks for resolving service delivery problems. The voice of the latter is often articulated in a messy and incoherent manner. One would think, however, that it is the responsibility of the state, in a new democracy, to navigate through this in order to understand just how important localized socio-cultural values are with regard to ensuring services are delivered in an affordable and sustainable manner. Prescribed public participation mechanisms certainly have been established at the local level, such as through consultations through the Integrated Development Plans, but if the voice of civil society cannot fit within these vehicles, there is no space for it to be heard (Oldfield, 2007). The instrumentalization of local government has closed down rather than opened up opportunities for an evolving democracy and illustrates the continuation of an apartheid-legacy of municipal authoritarianism in how services are delivered. Civil society’s response to this authoritarianism has contributed to the burgeoning of social movements, riots, demonstrations and court cases in which civil society actors have had to resort to the politics of protest in an effort to have their voices heard (Ballard et al., 2006). This is a worrying trend that is recognized across national departments that are limited in their ability to intervene in another sphere of government other than through the guise of ‘support’. So long as there is no political will at the local level of government to understand why the politics of distribution is so central to the debates on service delivery, consultants, with their technocratic managerialist approaches and cookie-cutter solutions will continue to form the backbone of local government thinking. This article has illustrated the complex nature of the Bank’s relationship with South Africa through more than a decade of technical assistance. The nature of the government’s demand-driven and often chaotic relationship with the Bank throughout the 1990s, combined with its anti-loan position, may well have pushed the Bank to develop a different kind of relationship with the country by testing out its new identity as a knowledge broker. Through its relationship with South Africa, the Bank was able to sharpen a new instrument of development that focused on research, training and informational management. The Bank experienced greater influence in South Africa through technical assistance rather than through its failed attempts to establish policy advice through lending programmes. One could argue, however, that the policy outcomes of the Bank’s technical assistance were similar in their approach to development as the Bank’s lending programme, as is well illustrated through the Bank’s advice on GEAR and the MIIF, as discussed above. By shifting the analysis from a Northern institution, such as the Bank, to particular devices, such as technical assistance, and their contexts of dissemination, it is possible to examine how these institutions seek to exercise power at a distance (Bell, 2002, p. 507). Bell notes the importance of paying attention to “the varied sites and agents of knowledge, including the degree to which knowledge accumulated and disseminated can be the outcome of a mutual exchange of ideas, as opposed to a one-sided product of the Northern imagining” (ibid, p. 510). The nature of the Bank’s influence in South Africa was not crafted by the power of the institution to dictate how development should occur. Rather, the Bank’s influence was wielded by the clout of its discourse on development and how this discourse was disseminated through particular individuals at distinct moments in time throughout the decade.