Purpose of this Website

This website is dedicated to defining common terms that I use regularly in my work as a social scientist and development practitioner.

For the past several years, I have been researching and practicing the application of social policy in developing countries. I've slowly been working to publish a website that shares my work so that others might benefit from it.

If you happen to find this site and you wish to correct me or contend a statement, or if you wish to help refine my understanding and articulation of a concept, I'd be happy to hear from you. You can also comment directly on mosts posts.

Context of Inquiry

Among the international financial institutions (IFIs), the last three decades have witnessed considerable efforts to develop policy instruments and operational guidelines for protecting the world’s vulnerable people and communities. The trend has shifted from a “do no harm” approach to one that emphasises proactive planning to “safeguard” affected people and communities. Yet even as social policy is gaining in its acceptances (and recognized importance) among IFIs, there remains much ambiguity—and controversy—about how such policies ought to be realized in application.

Social development practitioners are sometimes employed on behalf of corporations and governments to attend to social concerns and to help advocate on behalf of the rights of affected communities. Within increasingly collaborative and systematic contexts, practitioners seek to draw upon the the development experiences of other people, projects, and initiatives across multiple countries and sectors toward establishing industry and global “good practice” models.

This work is arguably beneficial to the local populations, and demonstrating that social development has any form of net positive gain for affected populations is a core challenge for all practitioners. How do we “prove” any form of efficacy of our work to sceptics—especially those controlling the budgets that afford our opportunities to design and implement our interventions? How do we demonstrate that the benefits programmes we design can deliver the joint service of ensuring their compliance with regulatory benefits regimes while still benefiting their exchequer? To put it more crudely still: Where can we interject a space for people and communities within a context of a market-expanding developmental agenda, rampant resource extraction, governmental malfeasance, fear, and a need to get paid for our work?

Dating Conventions

As a matter of convention, I publish each term under the date that I first encounter it in my email inbox.

This convention provides me with a helpful references for when I first started becoming aware of nuanced terminology and a personal contextual cue.

A consequence of the convention is that terms will stack under a single date (like a day that a big paper loaded with specific jargon came though my inbox).

If I have no record of a term in my inbox (which is rare), then I assign the date on which I first started drafting the blog article.