This chapter focuses on development as a “civic project.” It explores local symbols of orchestrated community-wide development, including infrastructure, ceremony and signage. The chapter argues that a defining feature of such symbols is a concern with development as a performative display. Tied as they are to clientelist politics, local government-led development initiatives are largely about “branding” both projects and people in their patron’s name, (re)producing webs of utang kabubut-on(debt of obligation), intended to reinforce the status quo. Entangled in this local political economy of development, are international bilateral and multilateral agencies, equipped with the latest international development orthodoxy and a remit to work in “partnership” with the local government. The incommensurability of these approaches is revealed when “partnership” morphs into a system of largely separate and parallel structures for implementing local development.
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