This panel proposes to engage with the afterlife of development projects. We will examine how communities and individuals engage with and reinvent schemes in the years following their abandonment. The focus will be on both continuities, as well as ruptures and reversals that emerge over time.
After decades of poor performance and disappointments with the outcomes of development schemes, scholars are increasingly engaged in efforts to understand the long-term impact of failure in development. The quest to understand what has gone wrong has unearthed immense complexity, and it is acknowledged that the binary division into "success" and "failure" is simplistic. The notions of "failure" or "success" can distort more ambiguous and complex results. A more appropriate approach should take a broad view of outcomes that include impacts, sustainability, and long-term relevance for individuals, community, and country, both intended and unintended. Development interventions can produce unplanned consequences that involve multiple forms of social, cultural, spiritual and ideological change. Processes that involve reinterpretation and reclaiming of both failures and successes are clearly brought into focus when we examine the lifespans of development schemes beyond the intended scope of the projects. We have much to learn from how local communities and individuals experience, respond to, and reinvent initiatives in the years following the end of development initiatives. This panel proposes to engage with the afterlife of development projects. We will examine both continuities with the original goals of schemes, as well as ruptures and reversals that emerge over time. We seek to understand how local imaginaries, initiatives, and criticisms engage in dialogue with the agendas of both development organizations and state actors to reshape and reinvent the impact and significance of schemes after they are abandoned.