In recent decades international development has grown into a world-shaping industry. But how do aid agencies work and what do they achieve? How does aid appear to the adults and children who receive it? And why has there been so little improvement in the position of the poor? Viewing aid and development from anthropological perspectives gives illuminating answers to questions such as these. This essential textbook reveals anthropologists' often surprising findings and details ethnographic case studies on the cultures of development. The authors use a fertile literature to examine the socio-political organisation of aid communities, agencies and networks, as well as the judgements they make about each other. The everyday practice of development work is about negotiating power and culture, but in vastly different ways in different contexts and for different social groups. Exploring the spaces between policy and practice, success and failure, the future and the past, this book provides a rounded understanding of development work that suggests new moral and political possibilities for an increasingly globalised world.