Is "aid culture" even the right term?
May 11, 2011 8:31 PM   Subscribe

How do I go about researching what I've seen termed as "aid culture", specifically in Haiti?

I'm currently researching for my final paper in a class on hazard mitigation and resilient communities. I'm really interested in what I've seen called "aid culture" in at least one article, though I can't figure out where I saw it. The term refers to the idea that third-world countries face increased difficulties creating their own infrastructure because of a steady stream of foreign aid. I've been able to find some news articles and commentary by googling, but when I start using journal search engines I end up with nothing. Is there a better term for this? Are there related ideas that might lead me in the right direction?

Thanks, MeFi!
posted by brilliantine to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Maybe aid dependency is what you're looking for?
posted by knapah at 8:35 PM on May 11, 2011

Best answer: It might be worthwhile to check out Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo.
posted by Ashley801 at 9:14 PM on May 11, 2011

Best answer: The phrase aid culture haiti gets some results on Google Scholar.

Changing this to aid dependency haiti gets a different set (though I suspect there is overlap.

There's a book on this very topic, published in 2008, called Haiti in the Balance: Why Foreign Aid Has Failed and What We Can Do About It.

Check that book, use it, and also see what they cite.

What databases are you using to search? Sometimes it's just a matter of finding the right terms for any particular database. You also might want to make sure that in databases you are searching for foreign aid and haiti instead of just the phrase. Some databases don't know that you're not looking for a specific phrase.

I just looked up some peer-reviewed articles in the database Academic Search Complete. They seem to be using the descriptor international economic assistance. Combine that in a search with and haiti and you should get some good results.

Here are a few:
Zanotti, Laura. "Cacophonies of Aid, Failed State Building and NGOs in Haiti: setting the stage for disaster, envisioning the future." Third World Quarterly 31.5 (2010): 755-771. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 May 2011.

Erikson, Daniel. "The Haiti Dilemma." Brown Journal of World Affairs 10.2 (2003): 285-297. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 May 2011.

Please note: I am a librarian, but I am (probably) not your librarian. This would be an outstanding question for the librarian at your institution, who could undoubtedly answer this question more efficiently and with more relevance to your school's resources.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:27 PM on May 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

I don't have any articles off the top of my head, but it does sound like "aid dependency" is what you're looking for. As far as books, Famine Crimes and Condemned to Repeat are good (and point more towards aid being actively detrimental, rather than simply delaying progress) and there's a ton of great stuff in the related books as well. The Moyo book is okay as a primer but I didn't really like it.
posted by quadrilaterals at 6:27 AM on May 12, 2011

Oh, and if you aren't using it already, A Paradise Built in Hell sounds like it would be useful as well.
posted by quadrilaterals at 6:28 AM on May 12, 2011

Sach's _The End of Poverty_ has lots of info, as does
Sen's _Development as Freedom_
posted by at at 6:29 AM on May 12, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks so much everyone! And about the library issue - my program is entirely online and I don't have access to a brick and mortar library (well actually, my public library system is pretty great, but no school access). There's a library email address but I've been hesitant to use it, and instead have been teaching myself how the journal searches work (apparently not well enough! I usually stuck with hard sources in undergrad). I can search EBSCO, JSTOR, LexisNexis, and ProQuest, but have found myself somewhat limited by generally needing resources that have their full text available online.

I'm also pretty embarrassed that of all the combinations I came up with, I never thought to search dependency.
posted by brilliantine at 7:48 AM on May 12, 2011

There's a library email address but I've been hesitant to use it

As a researcher, I just wanted to point out that
1) they put the email there for people to use it and
2) part of their job is knowing how to help people target and narrow their searches on fields they aren't specialists in.

In grad school when the reference people spoke with us, these were things they pointed out that we really should not feel bad about asking. It seemed - to me - like part of the challenge and fun for them, as long as the user has some inkling where they are going...
posted by whatzit at 8:40 AM on May 12, 2011

There's a library email address but I've been hesitant to use it

Use it! And do not be embarrassed! Every grad student I've ever met thinks everyone knows how to do this stuff except them. Seriously, it's really important as a grad student to be able to talk to and interact with your library.

There are also probably lots of resources available to you that you don't know about. For example: you can probably get the full-text of articles your library doesn't own, because they can request those materials for you via interlibrary loan, which would mean you'd get a PDF via email or an online system.

It's no weirder to email your librarian than to ask here.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:55 AM on May 12, 2011

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