Tag Archives: continuity

The MacGyver Principle

MacGyverToday we continue with the theme of continuity in program implementation. Last time I explained continuity in terms of Duplos. Today we’ll come at the same idea from an different angle.

Members of my generation don’t need to have actually watched MacGyver to know about the show’s trope of assembling creative contraptions out of odds and ends in order to get out of a tricky situation. Indeed, it has even become a verb, as in “to MacGyver something.”

While thinking about program design and implementation after my time in the field, I thought about expressing one of my dissertation’s arguments as “The MacGyver principle”: make what you need out of what you have (if you Google the phrase you’ll find many others have already used it, and with several different meanings; but many are along the same lines as this post). No jack to lift fallen debris and set people free? Use a fire hose as a makeshift hydraulic. No sealant for the leaking tank of acid? Use bars of chocolate. Continue reading

Policy continuity illustrated with Duplos

duplo-blocksA while back I wrapped up a series of posts about complexity and program implementation. Now its time to move on to continuity.

My fieldwork in Brasília overlapped with both rounds of Brazil’s 2010 election, so I got to see a lot of campaign ads on TV. This ad was my favorite, and inspired one of the central arguments in my dissertation. It’s by Agnelo Queiroz, who was the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate for Governor of the Federal District. (He won the election). I think that the images communicate a lot even without understanding Portuguese. My translation, after the break.