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The Project as Representation. Bureaucratic Rule in the International State of the Congo

Africa
Political Sociology
NGOs
Alex Veit
Universität Bremen
Alex Veit
Universität Bremen

Abstract

In this paper, I interrogate „the project“ as a central symbolic representation of internationalized bureaucratic rule. Building on qualitative research on intervention against sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the paper suggests that “the project” both embodies and regulates the engagement of donors, IOs and INGOs with state and population in eastern DRC. I analyse two essential aspects of projects: temporality, i.e. the seeming contradiction between the limited timeframes of projects and their simultaneous claim to durability and sustainability; and the spatiality of bureaucratic knowledge and practice, i.e. how the project is differently represented and interpreted in diverse political arenas in which the project is conceived, negotiated and implemented. In the concluding section, I discuss how bureaucratic representations interact with political representation in the international state of the Congo.