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New Limn: Little Development Devices/Humanitarian Goods

Articles coming out beginning this week. Follow the action at Limn twitter.

Coming soon! This issue of Limn examines the recent profusion of micro-technologies in the worlds of humanitarianism and development, some focused on fostering forms of social improvement, others claiming to alleviate suffering, and many seeking to accomplish both. From water meters, micro-insurance and cash transfers, to solar lanterns, water filtration systems, and sanitation devices, examples proliferate across the early 21st century landscapes of international aid. Although small-scale endeavors are far from novel, today these devices are animated by different intellectual and moral energy, drawing on novel financial and organizational resources. Many blur distinctions between public and private interests, along with divisions between obligations, gifts and commodities. At the same time, they entail novel configurations of expertise, political obligation and forms of care. The articles in this issue explore these new convergences of developmental and humanitarian projects, alongside reworked relationships between experts, governments, and purported beneficiaries, focused on fostering “participation” and “partnerships” rather than nation-building.

Contributors include:

Jacquie Best on micro-devices and development failure
Marc Boeckler on micro-insurance in the global South
Brenda Chalfin and Xhulio Binjaku on ‘dwelling based public toilets’ in Ghana
Jamie Cross on the photovoltaic cell
Vincent Duclos on mobile health in Burkina Faso
Robert Foster on customer care in Papua New Guinea
Christopher Kelty on participatory development
Meena Khandelwal and Kayley Lain on cook stoves in India
Austin Lord on small hydro-electric devices in Nepal
Amy Moran Thomas on the gluclometer
Jonathan Morduch on microcredit
Peter Redfield on band-aids and magic bullets
David Reubi on sin taxes
Anke Schwittay and Paul Braund on humanitarian design cultures
Tom Scott Smith on IKEA’s ‘Better Shelter’
Alice Street on point of care diagnostics
Tatiana Thieme on sanitation in urban Kenya