Development as Pedagogy: On Becoming Good Models in Japan and Myanmar

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A key approach to development aid in Japan has been hitozukuri (“making persons”), which refers not only to the transfer of skills but to the holistic cultivation of persons. The Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA), derived from a Shinto-based religious group, has been one of the leading NGOs in hitozukuri aid, conducting training programs in sustainable agriculture around the Asia-Pacific region. A central aspect of OISCA’s activities consists of imitative practices such as “leading by example.” Aid workers’ efforts to become and adapt “good models” show how modeling practices are not standardizing, but rather, can be a lens through which to understand development work as a process of ethical subject-making and learning that transform both aid workers and aid recipients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-602
JournalAmerican Ethnologist
Issue number4
Early online date17 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Development
  • learning
  • ethical subject-making
  • modeling
  • NGOs
  • Japan
  • Myanmar


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