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Most aid agencies don’t want too much expertise on a single country. The senior people get worried if they can be contradicted by somebody from below who knows better. In Whitehall now, the desk officers are lucky if they even visit the countries they’re handling in the files on their desks. This reduction of in-depth knowledge of other places and people was expressed as a considerable problem within the contemporary development industry: There is far too much Eurocentrism in the international development system and every now and again we all agree one size doesn’t fit all but then we go into the next round of debate about getting a Authority and Expertise 43 consensus that’s going to be a one size solution.

These often unspoken assumptions are highly problematic but continue to prevail in development thinking and are embodied in the ideas and practices of the professional. The forms of expertise produced are developed in part by reasserting (colonial) dichotomies that distinguish between the ‘‘modern’’ and the ‘‘traditional’’, whereby the ‘‘traditional’’ culture, forms of social 34 Antipode organisation, production and beliefs of the Third World are seen as outmoded and in need of being succeeded by more ‘‘modern’’, inevitably Western, attitudes and practices.

London: Oxford University Press Seuffert N and McGowan J (2000) Making the Most of Contracting: Information and Exchange in Context for Community Groups. Hamilton: University of Waikato Social Advisory Council (1986) Partnership: The Delivery of Social and Community Services. Wellington: Government Printer State Services Commission (1989) Partnership Dialogue: A Maori Consultation Process. Wellington: State Services Commission Tenbensel T (2001) Health prioritisation as rationalist policy making: Problems, prognoses and prospects.

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