Robert Chambers

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Professor Robert Chambers is a Research Associate at the Institute of De- velopment Studies (IDS), University of Sussex (Brighton, UK), where he has been based for the last forty years, including as Professorial Research Fellow. He became involved in the field of development management in the 1970s, writing and (co-)editing several books on land settlement schemes in Africa and on rural development management more broadly. This drew on a dozen years of experience as an administrator, trainer and researcher in Africa (mostly Kenya). He worked in India as a researcher and networker during three periods in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Over the years his focus and work moved on to irrigation management, and then to approaches and methods in research and for participatory development and practice, both writing about these and acting as a leading figure in the associated global knowledge networks and communities of practice. Chambers has worked in and with training institutes (Kenya Institute of Administration, East African Staff College, Administrative Staff College of India), research organizations (IIED), universities (IDS Sussex and IDS Nairobi), civil society (ActionAid and the Ford Foundation) and governmental and intergovernmental organi- zations (Government of Kenya and UNHCR). He has, alone or with others, written or edited sixteen books and numerous articles on development man- agement, participatory approaches and methods, and critical reflections on development practice and development studies. The book that made him famous is entitled Rural Development: Putting the Last First (1983). In his latest book, Provocations for Development (2012) he again aims to disturb some conventional development ideas and practices, and to put forward his own ideas to be tested and improved. Overall, his career is marked by a spirit of innovation and collaboration, listening and self-criticism. He has received three honorary doctorates in the United Kingdom, and will be receiving a Doctor Honoris Causa from Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) at its centennial celebration in 2013.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-725
Number of pages21
JournalDevelopment and Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2013

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