„Es war kein Job, es war eine Berufung“ – Gouvernementale Führung, fragmentierte Subjekte und contre-conduite in der nichtstaatlichen Entwicklungspraxis
With their donation appeals aid organisations procure a polarised worldview of the self and other into our everyday lives and feed on discourses of “development” and “neediness”. This study investigates how the discourse of “development” is embedded in the subjectivities of “development” professionals. By approaching the topic from a governmentality perspective, the paper illustrates how “development” is (re-)produced through internalised Western values and powerful mechanisms of self-conduct. Meanwhile, this form of self-conduct, which is related to a “good cause”, also gives rise to doubts regarding the work, as well as fragmentations and shifts of identity. On the one hand, the paper outlines various coping strategies used by development professionals to maintain a coherent narrative about the self. On the other hand, it also shows how doubts and fragmentations of identity can generate a critical distance to “development” practice, providing a space for resistant and transformative practice in the sense of Foucauldian counter-conduct.