Associate Professor Shahar Hameiri  (POLSIS, UQ) and Dr Fabio Scarpello (Murdoch University)

Shahar Hameiri

Fabio Scarpello


Please note that this event has been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.



It is no secret that international development aid programs rarely attain their objectives. Thus, many observers and practitioners of international development have argued in recent years that the, often disappointing, outcomes of aid projects are critically shaped by the political economy of recipient states and societies. While broadly concurring, we add the ‘politics of scale’ as a crucial, though often neglected, dimension of the politics affecting the outcomes of aid interventions. Rather than taking place within a pre-given and fixed national territorial ‘container’, strategies to manipulate the territorial scope and instruments of governance are central to struggles over aid programming and implementation. On the one hand, donors seek to ‘rescale’ national and subnational governance to render ostensibly domestic areas of policymaking responsive to international agendas and targets rather than domestic leaders and populations, whose influence they view as pernicious. In response, however, different groups within target societies deploy, often quite successfully, their own scalar strategies to promote their interests and preferred normative agendas, or to defeat their rivals. This argument is demonstrated through a case study of the Aceh Government Transformation Program (AGTP), the main public administration program of the World Bank-managed Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Aceh and Nias (MDF), established following the 2004 tsunami. AGTP got entangled in power struggles between Aceh and Jakarta, between various political factions in Aceh, and between the UNDP – the implementing agency – and the MDF. In this context, the then newly elected provincial governor and former rebel leader, Irwandi Yusuf, successfully used scalar strategies and tactical alliances to secure his own power vis-à-vis international donors, Jakarta and local rivals, despite his apparent weakness relative to some of these actors.

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This series brings together the School’s research community and domestic as well as international leaders in the field of politics and international affairs. Across each semester, the series showcases a diverse and exciting range of topics. We welcome anyone who might be interested in attending.

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