in: Progress in Development Studies, first published 31.01.2024
By analysing a comparative case study investigating a development project implemented in Uganda and Vietnam, the article aims to understand how donor directives travel and translate into actual practices in aid chains. Making use of Norman Long’s concept of the interface, we focus on the interfaces between organizations to examine the negotiation of everyday project practices. Based on practice theory, our analysis unpacks how directives are filtered through the power relationships that shape practices at the various interfaces. We find that organizational relations between southern organizations are just as power-laden as north–south relations. Our analysis also shows that neither the management directives nor the freedoms that were granted to the participating organizations resulted in uniform practices and that practices did not have the same implications for organizations. Hence, the aid chain concept tends to simplify the complexities inherent in project systems comprising a multiplicity of vertical and horizontal organizational relations.