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A prototypical case in the making? Challenging comparative perspectives on French aid

Cumming, Gordon D. ORCID: 2017. A prototypical case in the making? Challenging comparative perspectives on French aid. European Journal of Development Research 29 (1) , pp. 19-36. 10.1057/ejdr.2015.62

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The comparative literature presents a mixed picture of French development assistance, with qualitative studies portraying this as a ‘deviant’ case while variable-led analyses view it as broadly ‘representative’. Both sets of studies ignore the possibility that French aid might be ‘prototypical’, laying down ideas and practices for other donors. Drawing upon a conceptual framework and over twenty interviews, this article challenges these comparative perspectives and paves the way for wider consideration of French ideas on international development. It argues that French assistance has undergone ‘mainstreaming’ and developed prototypical features since Prime Minister Jospin’s reforms of the late 1990s. It attributes these prototypical characteristics to France’s continuing ambivalence towards international aid norms, its more strategic approach to promoting French ideas and the emergence of a more propitious intellectual climate for those ideas. It concludes by reconciling different perspectives on French assistance and exploring the implications of these findings for Northern aid.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Modern Languages
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DC France
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Uncontrolled Keywords: development; Africa; aid; France; blending; effectiveness
Additional Information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN: 0957-8811
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 14 August 2015
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 02:59

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