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Re‐connecting histories: modernity, managerialism and development

Sadhvi Dar (University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 23 May 2008




The aim of the paper is to connect the field of health management to other related academic discourses (critical management studies and critical development studies) that can contribute to a more interdisciplinary approach to understanding health organizations and management.


The paper's design is theoretical critique that blends post‐structural, critical management and critical development approaches into a focused discussion of modernity and its relevance to contemporary health management issues.


Modernity proliferates through a variety of rhetorical tropes that go unnoticed or remain invisible. Through a brief analysis of historical definitions of management and development, the findings suggest that health management could also be critiqued as a cultural and social construction, enriching anthropological studies as well as informing practical critiques of health projects in the development sector.

Research limitations/implications

The conceptualisation of health‐management as a cultural construct of modernity opens up the prospect for some rich empirical studies into what management practices support the scientific‐rational claims on which it rests.

Practical implications

The critique informs a re‐appraisal of health management practices that are often taken for granted and ritualistic parts of organizational life. Such a re‐evaluation could lead to the implementation of more nuanced and appropriate health practices.


Connecting management and development discourses in this way has not been done before and its relevance to health management remains under‐researched. This paper highlights the way these discourses can enrich the study of health organizations and create a truly interdisciplinary understanding of health.



Dar, S. (2008), "Re‐connecting histories: modernity, managerialism and development", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 93-110.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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