The Donor-Recipient Relationship and Development: Some Lessons from the Iranian Experience

  • Norman Jacobs


This paper will attempt to provide one possible explanation for an admittedly complex problem, namely the often strained relationship which exists between the correlative partners, usually termed donor and recipient, in international development programmes. This interpretation will reflect both the author’s academic specialisation — bias if you will — as a comparative institutional sociologist with an area focus on Asia, and his experiences as a rural community development adviser for the United States International Co-operation Administration (the donor) at a field post in Fars Province, Iran, from 1959 to 1961. In trying to understand the sources of his difficulties with Iranian provincial officials in particular (the recipient) attending the effort to implement the Iranian community development programme at the operational level, the author probed both his own previous experiences and training and the insight of others, Asian and non-Asian, theoretical and empirical, moving back, step by step, from the actual work situation to increasingly theoretical and abstract levels of interpretation. This paper will present that intellectual exercise in brief. Only, in accord with the ritualistic demands of scientific explanation, the discussion will begin with the most abstract and move successively towards concrete reality.1


Comparative International Development Accelerate Development European Culture Local Elite Fars Province 
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  1. 7.
    See, For example, J. Johnson (ed), The Role of the Military in Under-developed Countries (Princeton, 1962)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© South African Institute of International Affairs 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman Jacobs

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