Development Seminar Talk

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Date(s) - 12/01/2018
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Anthropology Dept. AP 367


Dr Jamey Essex, University of Windsor

Geographies of bureaucratic labour: Expertise, development, and state space at Global Affairs Canada

The merger of CIDA and DFAIT, beginning in 2013 in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development and continuing today in the renamed Global Affairs Canada (GAC), has brought personnel, resources, and ideas from the formerly independent CIDA into Canada’s diplomatic and trade apparatus. It has also produced tensions as the longstanding practices and expectations of two different sets of highly skilled but highly bureaucratized workers must be reworked around new departmental mandates, hierarchies, and spaces. I examine this merger by focusing on how the merged department and its personnel conceptualize, organize, and use expertise in the pursuit of development, diplomatic, and trade policy goals. Critical geographic scholarship has recently turned to the more mundane, quotidian, and regularized work of policy professionals in a variety of state spaces, such as foreign ministries and development agencies, as a way of understanding how policies are made and remade, changing relations between structure and agency in the internationalizing state, and how the work of development, diplomacy, and trade gets done. I focus here on the integration of and coordination between development personnel, expertise, and resources with their diplomatic and trade counterparts in GAC, looking especially at three interrelated themes: first, the meaning of expertise in different policy fields; second, the differentially embodied geographies of expertise in day-to-day bureaucratic work; and finally, the difference that workspace makes for this integration, both within the Ottawa region and in Canada’s embassies and other foreign field sites.

 Sponsor: Development Seminar at the University of Toronto