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Submitted by Brittni on
The question over whether modernity was a package deal particularly struck me as I began thinking of the almost cookie-cutter-like programs that development agencies often implement using their "universal tool-kits". Although in the West, we have a relatively singular idea of modernity that combines education, medicine, and technology, what if this form of modernization isn't what the people of a particular village desire? Should these people be able to pick and choose what they want to modernize within their societies and what they wish to keep the same? If so, who gets to make this decision? The leaders of a community--not the children of course, who would be the ones going to school, getting vaccinated (or not, if the leaders decided these were the areas they would keep the same). Of course, this is where the "diplomats" or development agents come in to help negotiate between "modernization" and "tradition". But as you mentioned, diplomats are not free agents who can simply listen to what the people decide and then help them implement their decision. They must represent the organization who sent them, those who empower them to do the work that they do. In the actual negotiation process, however, whose wants/needs are being considered more: the people in the village or the Bank's?