Reflexivity in Development Assistance: The obstacles Dual Accountability and Communicative Asymmetry to achieving Reflexive Governance

By Martin Karlsson and Masaru Yarime.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The concept of reflexivity has been brought forward as a key component of sustainability science and sustainability governance, being indispensable for sustainability as a process and a goal. The reflexive governance research field has started to produce some insight into what reflexivity could mean in practice when brought out from the hallowed halls of science into the messy arena of governance, but so far attention has been focused on First-World cases. This paper will explore how reflexive governance relates to the reflexivity concept, and how it can be applied within Official Development Assistance (ODA), especially in ODA evaluations. Two main obstacles to reflexive knowledge production in ODA are identified, being the duality of accountability in ODA and the resulting knowledge incentives, and the asymmetry in communicative capacity. Lastly recommendations are made to address these obstacles, so that evaluations can assist in achieving sustainable development.

Keywords: Reflexivity, Reflexive Governance, Sustainable Development, ODA

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.17-27. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 552.096KB).

Martin Karlsson

Master's Candidate, Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan

Prof. Masaru Yarime

Project Associate Professor, Science, Technology, and Innovation Governance (STIG), Graduate School of Public Policy, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan