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Rwandan developmental “social engineering”: What does it imply and how is it displayed?

Journal article
Authors Malin Hasselskog
Published in Progress in Development Studies
Volume 15
Issue 2
Pages 154-169
ISSN 1464-9934
Publication year 2015
Published at School of Global Studies
Pages 154-169
Language en
Keywords development, development policy, developmental engineering, rural development, Rwanda, social engineering
Subject categories Peace and development research


Rwandan development policy is frequently referred to as ‘social engineering’. As this concept is not analytically clear and carries negative connotations, this article elaborates on its meaning. An analytical framework is developed and applied to selected Rwandan policies and programmes, as depicted in government documents, academic writing and field work. The analysis points to far-reaching social engineering in terms of visionary design, depoliticized managerialism, firm and partly coercive implementation, state–population separation and paternalism. In the conclusion, impressive results as well as problematic aspects are discussed, as are the negative connotations and the legitimate use of social engineering.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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