Cover of Aid and the Help by Dinah Hannaford
Aid and the Help
International Development and the Transnational Extraction of Care
Dinah Hannaford


April 2023
228 pages.
from $28.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503634602
Paperback ISBN: 9781503635500
Ebook ISBN: 9781503635517

Request Review/Desk/Examination Copy


Excerpts and More

Hiring domestic workers is a routine part of the expat development lifestyle. Whether working for the United Nations, governmental aid agencies, or NGOs such as Oxfam, Save the Children, or World Vision, expatriate aid workers in the developing world employ maids, nannies, security guards, gardeners and chauffeurs. Though nearly every expat aid worker in the developing world has local people working within the intimate sphere of their homes, these relationships are seldom, if ever, discussed in analyses of the development paradigm and its praxis. Aid and the Help addresses this major lacuna through an ethnographic analysis of the intersection of development work and domestic work. Examining the reproductive labor cheaply purchased by aid workers posted overseas opens the opportunity to assess the multiple ways that the ostensibly "giving" industry of development can be an extractive industry as well.

About the author

Dinah Hannaford is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Houston. She is the author of Marriage Without Borders: Transnational Spouses in Neoliberal Senegal (2017).

"A significant contribution to our understanding of the global politics of care, this book describes the moral dilemmas, social boundaries, and hierarchies that aid workers create to resolve the contradictions in their management of domestic help. This is a must read for those interested in gender, globalization, development and the work of women in the Global South."

—Rhacel Parreñas, University of Southern California

"This timely and important book is a welcome contribution to the scholarship on the global contours of reproductive and domestic labor. Aid and the Help frames women as both employers and employees, having to sort out the global tensions situating their interactions in the intimate, invisible zone of the home."

—Carla Jones, University of Colorado, Boulder

"Dinah Hannaford, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Houston, is not the first academic to provide a pointed critique of the humanitarian aid industry. She is, however, unique in focusing on the hypocrisy of those working in that industry—and it is an industry.... Hannaford is getting to the heart of the matter, namely that the aid industry is as much a jobs program for privileged college graduates as it is an industry having a transformative effect on the lives of those it is supposed to help."

—Sam Sweeney, The American Conservative