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Abstract

Sociologist Georg Simmel wrote short pieces on particular social types as a means of articulating the underlying logics bounded within certain social interactions. Here I have highlighted the creation, participation, and perpetuation of ‘The Developer’ as a Simmelian social type. Given the logics underlying development localities, a complex interaction ensues between the developer and developee—in which a discourse of equality, human rights, and partnership manifests as continued socioeconomic stratification. Rather than reify development globalities as intractable entities by which localities are powerless, I argue that we can better identify and come to understand individual reflexivity and action as a mode for positive change by recognizing the influence of the globality on the logic of development localities through social types. I argue that the possibility for development-as-partnership begins only when one turns a sociological lens onto his/her own role within international development and, by extension, in shaping the experience of the local.

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