Introduction: Decolonizing International Development Evaluation

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Despite the recognition that evaluation is an intensely cultural practice (House, 1993) influenced by Western epistemological approaches to social inquiry, there seems to be little discussion in the literature about the broader implications of our practice in terms of highlighting the relevance (and location) of culture and cultural context in international development evaluation (Chouinard & Cousins, 2015). This is a significant Omission, particularly given the rather long history of Western colonialism in much of the developing world. In this Special Issue we raise some fairly fundamental questions about how culture is being conceptualized in international development contexts, and how and to what extent local, extremely marginalized, and Indigenous cultures are being included in the conVersation. Who is defining the parameters of what counts as legitimate discourse? More importantly, where is culture located in our definitions of evaluation as we continue to export and expand our methodological practices across the globe?

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