Dustin Schäfer

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The essay explores the Inspection Panel’s (the Panel) conflicting role of providing accountability for negatively affected people while facing political limitations. The Panel has proven its potential to disrupt harmful development practices. However, by reproducing “dev-speak” it also continuously contributes to legitimizing the same assumptions of “how to do development”, and thus to the continuation of harmful development practices. This ambivalent effect is inherent to the Panel because of its politically inhibited and depoliticized (i.e. technocratic) environment. To overcome this long-lasting and structural condition will require critical examination of the concept of development and the role it plays in accountability. Strategies to counter depoliticization - whether intended or not - have the potential to strengthen and revitalize the concept and practices of citizen-driven-accountability.



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