Keeping means and ends in view-linking practical judgement, ethics and emergence.

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In this article I argue that the means and ends of development are constitutive of each other. If means appear to have become separated from the espoused ends of international nongovernment organisations (INGOs), then it may be because other ends, the corporate aspirations of INGOs often expressed in grand strategies and plans, have come to dominate. However, in recognising that in development management particular methods that privilege the abstract and instrumental have come to dominate, this does not close off all possibility of critical reflection, discussion and negotiation, through the exercise of practical judgement or phronesis. Wholesale schemes for doing good, no matter how idealised and abstract, must be functionalised in particular contexts with particular people and can still be negotiated, affording the potential for the emergence of greater mutual recognition between those engaged in development. This negotiation and exploration of difference is often uncomfortable as each of the parties, and their power relationships, is made more visible to the other, but, this article argues, it is a prerequisite for continuously appraising our ethical engagement with others and for keeping means and ends in view. Copyright (c) 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)544-555
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of International Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • phronesis, ethics, emergence, managerialism,


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