Boundaries and Bureaucrats: Higher Education Reform in Madagascar

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Boundaries and Bureaucrats: Higher Education Reform in Madagascar
KIEL, MICHELLE LEA ( Author, Primary )
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2 Copyright 2006 by Michelle Lea Kiel


3 To all the boys in my life: Christian, Cooper, Jasper


4 TABLE OF CONTENTS page LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........5 FIGURE......................................................................................................................... ..................6 ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ..............7 1 INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................................8 Theoretical Framework.......................................................................................................... .11 Contextualizing Difference in Madagascar............................................................................16 The Licence-Master-Doctorat (LMD): Locality and a “Gl obal” Educational Policy............19 2 TALKING ABOUT REFORM..............................................................................................28 University Administrators: “Bad Profe ssors” and the Strugg le over Rationality...................30 “Bad Professors”.............................................................................................................32 The Struggle over “Rationality”......................................................................................42 Professors Talk Back: Northern Hegemony, th e “Bad” State, and the Fusion of Power.......49 “Northern” Hegemony.....................................................................................................51 The “Bad” State...............................................................................................................5 6 The Fusion of Power.......................................................................................................61 3 CONCLUSIONS....................................................................................................................67 LIST OF REFERENCES............................................................................................................. ..71 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.........................................................................................................77


5 LIST OF TABLES Table page 1-1. Malagasy universities compared...........................................................................................24 1-2. Distribution of student funding.......................................................................................... ....26


6 FIGURE Figure page 1-1. Degree systems compared.................................................................................................. ...19


7 Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts BOUNDARIES AND BUREAUCRATS: HIGHER EDUCATION REFORM IN MADAGASCAR By Michelle Lea Kiel December 2006 Chair: Brenda H. Chalfin Major Department: Anthropology Madagascar is an island nation often faulted for its internal ethno-regional inequality. My study examined how efforts to harmonize with Western institutional forms facilitated the existence of inequality, rather than facilitating th e equality that “harmonization” often promises. In particular, I examined educational policy, focusing on how academic civil servants stake claims on material resources as they debate the implementation of a new policy in university education: the License-Master-Doc torat (LMD). Taking an ethnogr aphic approach, I traced how the actions of university professors and admini strators were both productive of and produced through bureaucratic and re gional/ethnic inequality. In a stat e where “universalizing” reforms often claim to bring populations together under th e banner of a “rational” state that actively effaces reference to inequality, my study show s how historic center-periphery inequalities (whether ethnic, racial, or region al) are being re-written into polic y as it emerges in Madagascar.


8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Focused on recent events in Madagascar, my research examined the capacities for the production of social inequalities carried with educati onal policies as these unfold in a national educational bureaucracy. Drawing on anthropological inqui ries of the state and of education and the trajectories of African studi es, it investigates the emergen ce of the new and controversial Licence-Master-Doctorat (LMD) policy. This un iversity level educational policy is widely advertised as a potential leve ler between global “North” and “South,” promising to connect Madagascar’s university system to a global mode l and thus create a syst em that delivers both interchangeability and mobility to its students. Ideally, the degrees obtained in Madagascar through the LMD system will carry the same wei ght as the post-secondary degrees awarded in Europe or North America. Despite this universalizing rhetoric, the LMD has been debated by university administrators and professors for the last two ye ars as various actors vie for the resources that will become available with the advent of this reform. Through this debate multiple divisions (bureaucratic and hierarchical, ethnic and regional ) are brought to the surface. Situated within these debates, this paper examines the ways that policy, in its adaptation to local circumstances, becomes subject to and an agent in projects of bureaucratic and ethnor egional differentiation which value some actors over others while denying and instituting multiple forms of inequality. It asks: How is “difference” produced through the “universalizing” policies of education? What sorts of “difference” are being produced and artic ulated within discussions of reform? How do struggles over policy formation among civil servan ts reproduce the very in equalities they deny? Finally, how does the architecture of university e ducation in Madagascar structure the types of inequalities that can and cannot exist?


9 The importance of this type of study is indicat ed by the history of Af rica in general, and Madagascar in particular. In Ma dagascar, as in Africa, education is a major site of contestation and is often viewed as the pre-eminent space for the construction of nationalism and state legitimacy as well as the fomentation of unive rsal ideals (Coe 2005; Covell 1987; Koerner 1999; Ratsiraka 1975; Sharp 2002; Stambach 2000; Steiner-Khamsi 2004; Steiner-Khamsi and Quist 2000). Educational policy emerges tucked into un iversalizing discourses that tout the “common good” of the nation and its citizens. Education ha s been part and parcel of every effort to intervene in the lives of the “Africans” at leas t since pre-colonial missi ons sought to “civilize” the continents inhabitants (Com aroff and Comaroff 1997). In the colonial era, education aided the administration of colonies (Hunt 1999; Koer ner 1999). Since independence, education has continued this role and extended it, becoming one of the main methods by which political agents illustrate their commitment to the “development” a nd “advancement” of their nations. It has also become a preoccupation of institutions like the World Bank and other institutions that stretch across national borders. All these incarnations of education carry with them a universalizing discourse intoned with a sense of equality as an endpoint. Yet despite this universalizing discourse, not everyone benefits from educational policies. Nor does edu cational quality remain even across physical space. While many studies have investigated the role of education in the cr eation of certain types of subjects, looking at the effect s of policies in particular locales (Coe 2005; Stambach 2000; Bourdieu 1996), relatively few have looked into the way policy unfolds in the planning. If international organizations and individual nations seek to address inequality and uneven development, they must look beyond the rationa lized “model” and the implemented system to the early stages of implementation itself. This study situates itsel f within this space, looking at


10 the policy discussions that occur at the level of educational administration. At this level, several questions need to be addressed: How are uneve n benefits being rationa lized and how are they being contested? Along what lines do these in equalities emerge? How does difference become inequality and inequality become difference? More specifically, wi ll national educational policies further the center-periphery inequalities th at exist in Madagascar? Or, if they hold the potential to challenge these types of in equality, where do the possibilities lie? To probe these questions, the research presen ted here focuses on a particular moment in the emergence of the LMD policy: a moment pr eceded by the state’s donor-mediated decision to implement this reform and one which will presumably be followed by the LMD’s implementation at the university level. This is the moment when the way the LMD will be implemented is debated and the on-the-ground r ealities of the reform are hashed out by university administrators and ministry personnel in Madagascar. It is also the moment when different Malagasy universities vie for a stake in terms of financial suppor t, both from the state and from international donors, and some profe ssors, sensing their live lihoods threatened, begin to speak out against moving forwar d with a reform focused so e xplicitly on outsiders’ demands. It is thus situtated in one of several spaces wher e policy, after it is concei ved, has the potential to be molded towards certain ends. These ends will , in turn, act to define what becomes available and for whom. My research shows how th e universalizing rhetoric su rrounding the LMD allows the Malagasy state to obscure some forms of inequality while actively highlighting others. The LMD is nested within a political paradigm that suggests that state-s ponsored education should respond to both foreign and domestic needs in order to court investment and increase productivity, thereby driving economic development. It is through these multiple moves that the


11 LMD policy suggests itself as an equalizing force between global center and periphery. Yet my research suggests that the goal itself will serv e to further embed already existing inequalities by constricting the shape of the sort of “development” that is possible. Both state and World Bank documents seek out a reform that will address wh at they call Madagascar’s “real needs.” These “real needs” represent ideas of development which are situated squarely in either rural and agricultural or foreign and industrial sectors.1 The state and the World Bank’s focus on certain types of development and the assignation of “nee ds” to regions and areas holds the potential to further entrench already existing inequalities be tween the “North” and the “South” and the center and periphery. Through a review of ethnographi c material collected in the spring and summer of 2005 at meetings about the Malagasy LMD and interv iews conducted with both administrators and professors, this paper suggests that multiple forms of inequality – hierarchical and bureaucratic, regional and ethnic, global a nd local – are embedded within both the paradigm and the adaptation of the LMD. Theoretical Framework This study brings together insights from three re lated fields of inquiry : the anthr opology of the state, the anthropology of education, and African area studie s. The anthropology of the state offers a way of understanding how hierarchy is built into the state and how differentiation is achieved within this hierarchy. It also sheds lig ht on the organizing principles behind the state, the rationalized machinery that becomes the taken for granted structure of state institutions. The anthropology of education, closely allied with investiga tions into state struct ures, concerns itself with the ways that state educational polic ies play out on the gr ound, how nationality and 1 These are the types of goals specifically set out in both World Bank and Malagasy governmental documents (World Bank 1999, 2002, 2004; Republic of Madagascar 2003; MENRS Vol. I, 2004).


12 personhood are built in and through schools and how schools can be used to view the complex interplays between various members of societ y. African studies, drawing on a longstanding relationship with anthropological inquiry, o ffers multiple ways of understanding various incarnations of “difference” and the constant nego tiations that are entaile d in its construction. Anthropological investigations in to the state and state power and into education as a form of discipline and legitimation, as well as African ar ea studies’ attention to identity and ethnicity inform this study, offering ways to view th e complex interweaving of state-power and ethnoregional inequality with in educational reform. The relationship between education and st ate power and education’s role in the reproduction of social inequality are not new fields of inquiry . This study follows in the footsteps of numerous discussions and debates on these subjects within the social sciences. Foremost in these discussions are considerations of the way that education is implicated in the control of subjects (Fouc ault 1977), the way education exists as a domain for the reproduction of inequality (Althusser 1972; Bourdieu and Passe ron 1977; Willis 1977), how it acts as a tool for the legitimation of the state (Bourdieu 1996), as well as how it produce s national imaginaries (Anderson 1983). Many of these studies focus on the effects of policies. This includes: the onthe-ground results of decisions made about the ph ysical architecture of the classroom (Foucault 1977; Bourdieu and Passeron 1977), the pedagog ic interaction of teachers and students (Bourdieu and Passeron 1977; Willis 1977), the wa y cultural and social capital are imbued by state-sponsored diplomas (Bourdi eu 1996), as well as the role of pedagogical materials in the creation of certain types of subjects (Anderson 1983). Running through these earlier studies is an emphasis on both class and state power, with the state emerging as the prime mover. Much of the field that has blossomed out of the works


13 mentioned above (the mainstream of the anthropo logy of education) has c oncerned itself with the classroom and the ways curriculum and teachers shape students and how education creates new types of communities (e.g., Coe and Nastasi 2006; Nespor 1994, 1997). In most cases, this has meant that the anthropology of education has focused on the micro-level, studying how state policies play out on the ground at particular educati onal institutions. My inc lination is to return to the state and take administrative policy-maki ng as a locale from which to observe the way policy unfolds before it reaches the ground. In this end eavor, and keeping in mind themes concerned with the creation of difference and th e reproduction of inequal ity within education, I have sought out scholarship on the state that deals specifically with bureaucrats and their multiple self-understandings. Herzfeld (1997, 2005) criticizes political anth ropology for making a monolith out of the state and suggests that we take a closer look at the ways that bureaucrats are situated, faulting Scott (1998) for casting these actors without the sort of ri ch context he offers to other, non-elite, groups. Herzfeld suggests that “s implistic talk of “elites” and “o rdinary people” conceals that common ground [between “top” and “bottom] (as well as the fact that thes e terms themselves are often themselves instruments in the negotiation of power and so inhibit analysis )” (1997: 3). More forcefully, he states that the fact “that we often fail to see that commonality [between state actors and their client-subjects] is a mark of the state’s hegemonic success in promulgating a conceptual separation between ‘s cience’ and ‘folk’ and rationali ty and muddle” (2005: 374). Herzfeld, following Scott, also observes that these conceptualizations of non-state “groups” make up the necessary other for bureaucratic actors, their raison d’tre . This recursive relationship notwithstanding, bureaucrats are not simply or always “rational” actors, nor are they simply and always state actors. Rather, bureaucrat s often act in ways that are contrary to the


14 articulated goals of the state and in ways that reflect simultaneous ties such as ethnicity or regional origin. A similar problem occurs when scholars set t oo much store in the pow er of the state, a situation which often causes scholar s to ignore other actors in policy creation. It is with this sort of problematic in mind that scholars like Chal fin (2004), Li (2005), and Meyer (1999, 1994) urge us to see the bureaucratic agents engaged in po licy formation, reminding us of the fact that the “state” is neither alone in crea ting policy, nor a lone policy creator . The research presented here, however, suggests that it is also useful to pay attention to th e very serious work that goes into making the “state” responsible for policy by eschew ing the participation of other actors and thus allowing the state the possibility to depict itself as a legitimate and sovereign actor. This finding is a useful addition to Steine r-Khamsi’s (2004) argument about the central role of policy borrowing in the ways states and regimes craft their legitimacy. Her argument suggests that governmental regimes borrow the policies of other nations in order to obscure the more local politics of policy change. In th is assertion, the use of “foreign ” voices and structural models lends credence to policy and thus acts to legi timize state action and to silence opposing voices while providing a market for foreign expertise. While Steiner-Khamsi’s work is instructive, particularly in its focus on th e higher levels of governmental and non-governmental institutions, it is also equally important that policy “look” indigenous, and at least as much work goes into this facet of state legitimation. This work takes up Herzfeld (1997, 2005) , Li (2005), and Chalfin’s (2001, 2004) suggestions that we pay attention to the multip le positioning of bureaucra tic agents and their imbrications in spaces beyond “the state.” In or der to probe the rationalized exterior of state bureaucracy it links the work of scholars on bureaucracy and the st ate with other trends from


15 both anthropology and African studies. Recent sc holarship in these fields investigates the multiple and often messy production of “difference” in order to understand the ways that state actors, embodying multiple motives, suppress and express difference along two interconnected lines. The first is a bureaucratic difference, expr essed as status within state structures. The second is difference through cente r-periphery relations that run along what I suggest are two distinct but interconnected pol es of inequality: one local (between shifting ethnoregional divisions), and the second global (b etween “north” and “south”). This is particularly true in the case of Madagascar, as will be discussed below. One of the great strengths of contemporary Af ricanist anthropology, a nd of African studies in general, is a willingness to engage the producti on of local and global difference as an analytic object.2 These works, some anthropological, some historical, are influenced by the body of scholarship on “difference” that has emanated from anthropological discourse since the discipline’s inception (see Bene dict 1934; Boas 1920; Mead 1935) . This “classic” anthropology is often, and often correctly, implicated in the colonial and imperial endeavors of the “West” (Miller 1990; Mudimbe 1988, 1994; Comaroff and Co maroff 1997), but they also act as the backdrop for many of the subsequent studies wh ich turned to focus on the construction of “difference” itself. These studies have paid part icular attention to how co lonial endeavors helped to create “difference” as they sought to signify and solidify the colonial administration’s position as well as the metropole’s. The difference cr eated through these processes was multi-layered, with difference between colony and metropol e cross-cut by rank orders among colonial 2 Frederick Cooper (2005) suggests that this engagement, which often devolves into discussions of the slippery analytic category of “identity” may be one of African studies, and social scie nce’s greatest weaknesses.


16 populations.3 As Comaroff and Comaroff (1997) have noted, “collective identity is everywhere a relation, not a thing” (388). Difference has th e potential to be both dangerous and empowering (Malkki 1995; Gourevitch 1998; Anthony 2002). At the same time, scholars have emphasized the fluidity of ethnic identity (Larson 2000) or th e ways that “ethnic difference” is arbitrarily ascribed (Ellis 1999). The focus, particularly in Africa, has been on how “difference” has been useful to various actors either to consolidate or make claims on power and how these claims shift as actors move through different situations. In th ese works, the construction of difference or of collective identity is achieved through narrative pract ice. It is within narrative practice that this study locates the reproduction of difference and inequality. Contextualizing Difference in Madagascar Difference and its relationship to governan ce has long been a noteworthy issue on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. Utilized by insiders and outsiders alike, ethnic, regional, and racial “differences” have influenced politic al association as well as resistance (Gow 1997; Covell 1987). Political leaders have often latched onto rhetor ic that exploits perceived differences is power and privilege among the is lands inhabitants, perhaps most recently and spectacularly when Ratsiraka contested the re sults of the Presidential election of 2001 and attempted to rally other coasta l ethnicities against his Meri na opponent (Randrianja 2003; Marcus and Ratsimbaharison 2005). More re cently, government rhetoric has eschewed difference, preferring instead a focus on a generi c Malagasy form of personhood and citizenship. In order to understand how bureaucr atic hierarchies intersect with ethnic, regional, and racial difference, a brief examination of the various lines along which difference is constructed in Madagascar is necessary. A useful starting point is the fluid nature of difference throughout 3 These rankings may occur based on education or on ethnicity, and very often were based on a mixture of both, resulting from pre-existing political situations and the colonial encounter.


17 Malagasy history, where certain sign ifiers have fallen in and out of favor along with shifts in the political climate. Ethnic/regional/racial differen ce has been utilized by every group in power in the country at least since colonialism. The most salient distinction within Madaga scar over the past two hundred years is the Merina/Ctier divide. Th is difference was encouraged by the French colonial powers that viewed the Merina as too powerful and were approached by non-Merina sovereigns who shared the same sentiment a nd were looking for allies (Sharp 2002). During colonialism, the French attempted to even out the make-up of the el ite by encouraging nonMerina ethnicities to take up positions of power (Freeman 2001; Koerner 1999; Sharp 2002). Based on a mixture of race, regionality, ethnicity, this distinction pitted the (Asian descended) Merina ethnicity of highland Madagascar against the (African descended) coastal, or ctier , inhabitants of the island. This division b ecame the ostensible rationale behind President Tsiranana’s pro-French policie s after Madagascar gained independence in 1960 (Brown 2000; Covell 1987), and the French/Malagasy divide became the rationale for President Didier Ratsiraka’s rise to power and subsequent an ti-Western policies (Brown 2000; Covell 1987; Randrianja 2003; Ratsiraka 1972). Yet even this period was marred by in ternal divisions and when Ratsiraka’s control was threatened he ofte n abandoned his “unified in diversity” rhetoric for a racialized/regionalized poli tics of “Merina hegemony” and “ ctier subordination.” Despite these political maneuvers and rhetorical enunciati ons, the fact remains that positions of power in Madagascar are more often than not taken up by highland ethnicities (most notably the Merina) and the Merina/ cotier divide remains palpable. These multiple constructions and reconstructions of “difference” are particularly salient in the realm of education, an area in which perceptions of Merina dominance have often merged


18 with ideas of “Western” hegemony. As early as the 1820’s, coastal populations ignored schools set up by the Kingdom of Imerina in the coastal areas because the instructors were highland Merina (Koerner 1999). During the colonial period, administrati ve schools were shut down in the these regions because of a lack of funds, while the highland educational structures were, for the most part, left intact (Brown 2000). After independence, Ra tsiraka’s ill-fated malgachisation reform, through which all primary and secondary education would be taught in Malagasy, unexpectedly strengthened percep tions of Merina hegemony. This was due to the paucity of material in coastal and rural areas and the use of Official Malagasy (OM) , the language Ratsiraka instituted for schooling and government, which was widely perceived to be based on the Merina dialect (Sharp 2002).4 Currently, the failures of the university system itself are laid squarely at the door of Ratsiraka, who’s pe rceived “ethnopolitics” is thought to have largely increased the quantity of education while decreasing quality. These reforms increased the number of students that regional universities could accept, and the number of schol arships they could give while ignoring faculty needs, basically overburdening small regional universi ties and decreasing the quality of the education they could provide. The current government denies “ethnic” and “regional” categorizations, suggesting, like Ra tsiraka at the beginni ng of his tenure, one Madagascar and one Malagasy people (Ratsira ka 1975). Yet the perception of the uneven development of (highland) center an d (coastal) periphery is evident, especially at the level of the university and it seems that it is this sort of unevenness that is being reproduced through the LMD educational reform in Madagascar. 4 This depends on who one talks to, as Sharp (2002) has noted. In my experience, Merina in Toamasina region often equated OM to a mixture of Merina and Betsimsiraka dialect s, while Merina scholars I talked to in the capital often suggested that it was, in fact, an even mixture of all the dialects.


19 The Licence-Master-Doctorat (LMD): Locali ty and a “Global” Educational Policy Although the LMD is new to Madagascar, it is not a new system elsewhere on the international front. It has been the educational structure of c hoice in Quebec for some time and is parallel to the system utili zed in the United States. More re cently, the nations of the European Union have adopted the structure to fit their universities. In Mada gascar and France, as in other francophone nations, the LMD refers to the change from a 5-tiered diploma system, based on and inherited from the former French system, to a three-tiered system. Figure 1-1. Degree systems compared Madagascar’s current university system includes the diplme d’enseignement universitaire general (DEUG) which requires a tota l of two years of study, the licence (a total of 3 years), followed by the matrise (4 years), the diplme d’tudes approfondies (5 years) and finally, the doctorat (8 years). The LMD, on the other hand, will consist of the licence (equivalent to a Former System LMD Doctorat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Total Years Doctorat Master Licence Licence Maitrise DEA DEUG


20 Bachelors degree in the US; 3 years), the master (5 years), and the doctorat (8 years). Yet the LMD, more than a simple policy which structur es diplomas in Madagascar or the European Union, is embedded in wider ideological stance s on governance and the role of the state. Wherever it travels, the LMD carries with it a complex of reforms embedded in an “advanced liberal” ideology (Rose 1999). Rose suggests that advanced liberalism ascribes “inherent rationality” (139) to all the spaces that intersect the domains of state governance. The governing model emerges as a corporate model, centered on “organizing all features of one’s national policy to enable a market to exist, a nd to provide what it need s to function” (141). Accordingly, “social government mu st be restructured in the na me of an economic logic, and economic government must create and sustain the central elements of economic well-being such as the enterprise form and competition” (141). It is through this process that the government’s relation to its subjects is rework ed. It becomes not a relation to a subject to be governed, but an agent to be enabled. This ideology stands be hind both the version of the LMD now implemented throughout much of Europe and the version s oon to be implemented in Madagascar. The geopolitical context of the LMD reform is nestled within this ideological stance as it emerges in both Europe and Madagascar. The European Union adopted the LMD system as a policy initiative in 1999 with the express goal of unifying th e diverse higher educational structures within European Un ion partner countries (Gorce, La-Croix , May 20, 2005: 24). This plan, often referred to as “harmonization,” was s uggested as a way to create an interchangeable system that would foster movement between Eur opean nations, while at the same time fostering competition with the North American educational system. The express purpose of the LMD in Europe is tied up with perceptions of “globalization,” which in this setting is taken to refer to an increase in the mobility of populations and an interconnectivity of economic markets. Rather


21 than a public venture, the university becomes a business tied to the market competition of multiple nation-states and geopolitical poles. One ma jor aspect of this market relationship is the fostering of linkages between the private sector and the university which supplements the state’s ability to provide financial backing for education. At the same time, a cultural element is brought into the European fr ame of the LMD, as European Union Commission for Education, Training, and Culture member Jan Figel stated in an interview with Les Echoes : Yes, education is itself globalizing and Eur ope should not lag behind, rather it should be attracting students from the four corners of the planet to its linguistic and academic diversity. Culture is at the heart of French a nd European concerns. And with just cause, as it is indistinguishable from the European identity and its divers ity. I don’t doubt that in the years to come the EU will continue to defend and promote this diversity, on the interior of its borders but also on the ex terior, in the international arena like the World Trade Organization or UNESCO. [Figel, Les Echos May 17, 2005] Culture, within European Union member states, becomes a marketable feature and it is implied that the educational policies being implemented—policies like the LMD which are perceived to foster student mobility between member states—will ai d in protecting that diversity. In a sense, this type of rhetoric is often inverted in th e frame provided for the LMD in Madagascar, wherein this reform is perceived to equalize diverse group s, but not promoted as a defense of diversity. In Madagascar, the LMD is nest led within a larger group of reforms and policy changes in Madagascar that the Ministry of Education calls the “Business Plan” for higher education and scientific research. These reforms are bound toge ther in what professors and administrators delineate as the “LMD.” As one administrator suggested, “you don’t have to see LMD as just a policy. It’s a policy but it’s a concept, like the linkages be tween economy and real social needs and higher education” (Administrator, taped interview, April 27, 2005). As a concept and as a policy the LMD encompasses a set of reforms ostensibly meant to streamline the university


22 structure, to excise inefficien cy, and to make Malagasy educa tion answer to what are dubbed the “real social needs” of this nation. The “real social needs” that the LMD addr esses are a part of the goals stated in Madagascar’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). Like the PRSP, the LMD reform answers criticisms the World Bank levels at the Malagasy educational system. Chief among these are instances of inefficiency such as the Malagasy university system’s overuse of paid overtime hours and the “inevitabl y costly” duplication of departments and course offerings at multiple universities (World Bank 2002: 113). The LMD will also do away with professors’ status as civil servants, moving them into c ontract positions that li nk job security with performance. The LMD carries these other reforms with it. Some of these reforms have already arrived and others are sure to follow. Each serves to form, within the rhetoric of the governments promoting them, a vision of education as a well-oiled machine, run like a business (Rose 1999) and responding to the ne eds of business. In this way, these reforms are perceived to open up new frontiers for both foreign and domestic commercial interests. This is a situation that the MENRS Business Plan admits to when it s uggests that, “In order to be able to meet the challenges of globalization, the sub-sector of Mala gasy higher education a nd scientific research must resolve to integrate a peda gogic course centered on the intern ational plan which responds to the needs of national, multina tional, and transnational enterprises” (MENRS 2004: 17). While the rhetoric surrounding the LMD in Ma dagascar often echoes the concerns of the European Union, the context of its implementation is substantially different. Most of the western European nations that form the European Union are highly “developed” and are thus able to mandate and fund, at least in part , compulsory education from fi ve years of age to fifteen-toeighteen years of age (Eurydice 2005). Madagascar , on the other hand, consis tently ranks as one


23 of the poorest and most under-developed areas of th e World. In keeping w ith this categorization, the number of matriculated students drops prec ipitously as the level of education rises in Madagascar. Thus, while 94% of primary school age children attend primary school (World Bank 2002), only 16% of secondary school age child ren attend lower secondary school and only 6% make it to the last two years of secondary school (World Bank 2002: 13). Of the 2% of students who earn their bacculaureat , 80% move on to institutions of higher education.5 This means that out of potential students within Mada gascar, only about 1.6% ev er make it into the university system. These, predictably, come from the wealthiest 25% of Malagasy households (111). Moreover, while European nations often distri bute their resources (more or less) evenly among different regions in a single nation, Mada gascar shows marked discrepancies in all aspects of the educational institutions in its six provinces. These discrepancies are run particularly deep between the cen tral university in th e capital of Antananari vo, and the 5 regional universities. Some 67% (or 17,557) of students enrolled at pub lic universities were at the University of Antananarivo in 1999, which presently offers twenty fields of study (MENRS Vol. II 2004: 14; World Bank 2002: 113-114) . This university, the ol dest in Madagascar, also constitutes the main center of research on the island. The other regional universities carried much smaller enrollments and fewer academic departments, as can be seen in Table 1-1. Having 5 Madagascar has four types of institutions that fall within the realm of higher education. The universities carry the bulk of students in higher education, with some 26,315 (or 74%) registered in 2003 (MENRS Vol. II 2004: 12). The Centre National de Tl-Enseignement de Madagascar (CNTEMAD, a distance educati on program with offices in each region that offers degrees in business and management) also take on a large number of students, with 5,939, or around 17% of the population (MENRS Vol. II 2004: 12). About 1.5%, or 537 students, attend the Institut Suprieur de Technologie (MENRS Vol. II 2004: 12), which offers short term professional degrees. Only about 28 (less than 1%) attend the Institut National des Sciences Techniques et Nuclaires (INSTN). Of students moving on to higher education, only about 7.5% entered into private institutions on the island in 2003 (MENRS Vol. II 2004: 12). The remainder moved into the country’s public university system, though a small number sought educational opportunities abroad.


24 the largest concentration of departments and stud ents makes the University of Antananarivo the premier university in Madagascar, a situation that troubles regional universi ties, those outside of Antananarivo, for several reasons. First, th is means that highland students have the most immediate access to educational resources. Th is, in turn, exacerba tes perceptions of ethnoregional inequality on the is land, where there is a historic sense of highland domination over coastal inhabitants. It also means the hi ghest investment, from state, private, and nongovernmental organizations, goes into this university. Table 1-1. Malagasy un iversities compared University Academic specialties6 Permanent faculty7 Enrollment8 Funded students9 Antananarivo 20 596 (66%) 17,557 (67%) 15,552 (89%) Antsiranana 2 62 (7%) 882 (3.3%) 617 (70%) Fianarantsoa 4 64 (7%) 2,507 (9.5%) 1,876 (75%) Mahajanga 3 58 (6%) 1,580 (5.9%) 1,264 (63%) Toamasina 6 41 (5%) 2,553 (9.6%) 2,177 (85%) Toliara 7 87 (10%) 1,264 (4.7%) 902 (71%) Total -908 26,343 22,117 (84%) While the distribution of permanent faculty (T able 1-1) shows some equity, when we get into the distribution of rank among professors, more regional differences em erge. The structural adjustment policies of the of the 80s and 90s, hi nged on the conditions of outside donors such as the World Bank, resulted in a relatively small num ber of fully trained professors (about 17% of the teaching staff) at Madagascar’s universities . Rather, the bulk of in struction tends to be 6 These figures are for 1999, World Bank 2002: 114 7 These figures are for 1999, World Bank 2002: 114 8 Percentages are of the number of students at a particul ar university compared with a ll students enrolled in higher education in Madagascar in 2003, from MENRS 2004: 14-15. 9 Percentages reflect the percent of students at each indi vidual university who received financial aid in 2003, from MENRS 2004: 14-15.


25 carried out by lecturers who have not yet obtained their doctorate.10 Of higher rank faculty members who have obtained a doctorate level degree and hold the titles of professeur titulaire and professeur , 86% are at the University of Antanana rivo (World Bank 2002), a university that, as of 2003, carried 67%11 of the student load (MENRS vol. II, 2004: 14-15). This means that the regional universities remain on the margins as far as the quality of their personnel, which necessarily decreases th e value of the degrees they can offer. State educational funding is another probl ematic area for the Malagasy University system. Spending tends to be uneven across the university population, a situation that doesn’t quite mesh with the university-as-business m odel being promulgated by the state and funding agencies. Government expenditure on the public university system in Madagascar, while small, is often directed at paying for personnel and stud ents rather than research or infrastructure. As with other arenas of university structure, Antananarivo emerges privileged above the rest, with some 89% of their students receiv ing scholarships (Table 1-2). This figure is followed closely by the University of Toamasina, on the east coas t of the island, where 85% of students receive government funding. The reasoning behind this figure is likely related to the fact that former President Didier Ratsiraka was from this region. Student funding at othe r Malagasy universities ranges from 63-75%. The uneven nature of stude nt funding further exacerbates perceptions of regional inequality among Madagasca r’s universities and is likely to be one of the more material issues that will be addressed in the complex of reforms arriving with the LMD. This is particularly true insofar as th e LMD and the reforms surrounding it speak directly to the desires 10 Out of some 678 out of 930 faculty that responded to an MENRS survey in 2003, 63 are at the level of professeur titulaire (9%), 52 are at the level of professeur (8%), 264 are matres de conference (38%), or lecturers, and 298 are at the level of assistant (44%; MENRS 2004: 26). 11 In 1999, when this statistic was gathered, the number of students carried by the University of Antananarivo was only 65% (MENRS vol. II: 14-15).


26 of the World Bank, which suggests “a system that provides financial assistance to a large share of the students in higher education is not onl y inequitable but also inefficient” (2002: 127). Table 1-2. Distributi on of student funding University Students Scholarship reci pients Percentage receiving funding Antananarivo 17,557 15,552 89% Toamasina 2,553 2,177 85% Fianarantsoa 2,507 1,876 75% Toliara 1,264 902 71% Antsiranana 882 617 70% Mahajanga 1,580 1,264 63% Total 26,343 22,117 84% The distribution of departments varies across regions as well, with many regional universities duplicating departments that are open (and have access to more resources) in Antananarivo. The reasons behind this are viewed as highly political by ad ministrators. As one administrator explained it, there was a prolif eration of history, philosophy, and geography departments (which now exist at both Toliara and Toamasina as well as at Antananarivo, MENRS Vol.2 2004: 5) precisely because these departments requi red no labs and were thus more cost effective. The duplication of depa rtments was part of former President Didier Ratsiraka’s plan to democratize the university campus, which consisted of opening up more departments and widening the parameters of enrollm ent and scholarship disbursement at each of the six universities. “Democratization” is curren tly seen as one of the main problems with the university system by university admi nistrators. For them this polic y resulted in a pr oliferation of departments without any concomitant growth in quality. Administra tive concerns echo the concerns of the World Bank when it suggests: “Thi s fragmentation in the system is particularly notable in the arts and sciences . In these disciplines the prog rams of study are in abundant supply in relation to the demand for them (e.g., in history, philosophy, mathematics, and physics and chemistry)” (2002: 113). When the LMD refo rm, with its focus on the “university as the


27 motor of development,” (Interview with Vice President of Financial Affairs, University of Toamasina, May 5, 2005) is implemented, the depa rtments of history and philosophy will likely be cut. Other departments, such as mathem atics, physics and chemistry will likely come under similar threat if they cannot cast themselves as important to “development.” The material effects of this reform e ndow it with multiple potential outcomes as it becomes the subject of multiple planning and strategy sessions. It is within this space of policy implementation that the following negotiations take place, where ad ministrators and professors begin to stake claims on the resources that will be made available within these reforms. The remainder of this paper is concerned with the ways that the rhetorics of universalization and differentiation simultaneously inhabit university re form. More specifically, it investigates how the creation of hierarch ical difference emerges as a rati onalized opposition between something intellectually correct and something intellectually incorrect as professors and administrators vie for the status of expert. Further, it examines how ethnoregional difference becomes entangled in these efforts of bureaucratic differentiation, with educational reform ope ning up possibilities to challenge, shift, or further alrea dy existing inequality on the island.


28 CHAPTER 2 TALKING ABOUT REFORM Key to understanding the production of inequality in and through reform is an investigation of the official rhetoric and the unofficial di scussions surrounding polic y formation. Two main sets of actors, administrators and professors, have been the most vocal advocates and opponents of the Licence-Master-Doctorat (LMD) reform. Ad ministrators’ presentations of the LMD as a set of reforms often have more to do with globa l “integration” or “harm onization” and the need to combat the “corruption” and “ineptitude” of university professors and students than with north/south relations or local issues of regi onal inequality. Concu rrently, candid moments observed during meetings and impromptu convers ations revealed another set of tensions emerging along ethnoregional lines. Professors, on the other hand, di scuss the LMD as a part of “northern” hegemony and an “incom petent” state and seek to use this characterization to center their own status within this new policy. These agen ts also merge state hierarchies into a sense of center-periphery domination on the island, seeing the state as, in part, an “ethnic” actor. Much of what each population articulates suggests a perc eived gulf between two groups that are in many ways very similar. The analysis that follo ws outlines the ways that difference is being constructed through the dialogue su rrounding the LMD. The differen ces present here reflect the multiple tensions that come to play in the moments when reform are brought to the people they will affect most and when those people are most able to affect how policies will be implemented. I draw from statements collected during fi eldwork I conducted in the summer of 2005. I often met people in their offices for formal in terviews during which both administrators and professors adopted what I perc eived to be a tentative way of speaking about the LMD, with caveats being made and common ground emphasized by both sides of the debate over the LMD policy. At the same time, each speech act wa s tailored to its audi ence: a young American


29 (neophyte) anthropologist. My ow n feeling, similar to the findings of other anthropologists (e.g., Frank 2000; Wolf 1996; Behar and Gordon 1995), wa s that a calculation was being made about what I might do with this research, and who might see it. Perhaps the subjects of my study gave me a bit too much credit. What their formal spee ch acts represent are a sort of transparency, not unsubstantial but not quite the en tire story. This is a far cr y from what was expressed during informal situations, or the range that came out ove r a variety of different settings. The analysis that follows tacks back and forth between the formal and the informal, reading simultaneous moves of bureaucratic and ethnoregional differentiation one after another, first among administrators and then among professors. University Administrators: “Bad Professo rs” and the Struggle over Rationality University administrators form a population th at is at once among the elite of Madagascar, though at the same time not always at the same le vel with other administrators or even with other’s who we might label “e lite.” Ministry personnel and administrative personnel inhabit different ranks in the state hierarchy, with the former occupying a higher status position. At the same time, administrators have a higher rank th an professors, lying between this population and ministry officials and in many wa ys acting as the intermediary between them. Administrators continue to teach, though to a le sser extent than full time profe ssors, and spend a lot of time traveling to meetings across the island, paid for by expense accounts provided by their universities. They (mostly) have cars and driver s, their offices are furnished with computers and they tend to live in well-appointed houses with cable TV and send their children to high status private schools like the French lycee . To a greater or lesser extent , these same traits can be found among professors and ministry officials. Indeed, at the end of their tenure some administrators may move back into professorial status, while others may move up into the ministry itself. Such


30 was the case for one former president of the Univ ersity of Antananarivo w ho was the Minister of Health at the time of this study. The University, however, is not considered by all to be a space of elite status. I once attended a dinner with former president Ratsirak a’s legal advisor and his wife where I described my research interest as concerned, in part, with the formation of elite status within Madagascar’s universities. He was incredulous at the idea that the universi ties of Madagascar created any elites, and laughed it off. To him, Malagasy univ ersity students and prof essors fit into a group that fell out of his particular conception of “the elite” of which he was a part. His reaction points to the nested and relational character of elite status. While certainly a university degree from a Malagasy university carries a higher degree of stat us than none, true elit es in Madagascar often carry the pedigree of time in the “exterior,”12 particularly degrees earned in foreign, mainly European and North American, universities. The LMD, as a major policy initiative, provides a context in which university administrators can solidify their difference fr om other university actors and, through this differentiation, solidify their higher st atus. It is in talking about th e LMD that administrators line themselves up with what they depict as a “progr essive” and “rational” st ance and begin to depict professors as somewhere off the mark, either mis-led or uninformed. Their own positioning, and the way they position other university actors, may se rve to solidify their status, either by aligning them with “progressive” state-endorsed causes or by illustrating their talent at convincing funding agencies of the need for investment. In the section that follows I examine the ways that administrators articulate the opposit ion to the LMD, and where this discussion places the conflict 12 In Madagascar, the “exterior” references areas off of the island, but more specifically signals time in more developed countries. Most often the nation being referenced by this signifier is France, but it can also reference Russia, other European nations, or the US and Canada. I have not heard people talk about other African nations or any other part of the “develop ing” world as the “exterior”


31 over the LMD. I also suggest th at these ways of speaking about the LMD simultaneously create “administrators” as certain types of rational, a nd un-self-interested actors, marginalize the voices of the opposition, and create a view of the university’s problems that can only solved be implementing the LMD reforms. At the same time, other tensions emerge within these works of bureaucratic differentiation. Less-than-spoken or explicitly implied, these other differences hold powerful potential to disrupt the playing field, as administrators struggle over how best to implement the LMD. Central here are competitions about what counts as the rational distribution of resources under efforts at university “rationa lization.” “Rationalism” emerge s as an unstable signifier and ethnoregional inequality becomes a subject in its negotiation as admi nistrators call on historical and contemporary inequalities and perceptions of inequalities to stake claims on the material benefits that the LMD makes available. Thus it is within a contingent and fleeting sort of bureaucratic position, built through narrative practice, that othe r longer-lasting types of difference are reproduced. These findings are sim ilar to those described by Herzfeld (1997) and Chalfin (In Press) when they desc ribe the ways bureaucrats shield particularistic interests behind legal-rational practices and how these particularistic interests may converge with nonbureaucratic/non-state agents. “Bad Professors” During meetings on the LMD, professors were a constant subject. They constituted the biggest obstacle to reform in the minds of many administrators . Administrators denigrated professors’ research as unorigin al, cast professors’ positions at the university as political concessions, called into question th eir work ethic, and brought their age to the fore as one of the main reasons for their opposition to the LMD. These depictions never silenced professors, though from the outside it looks as if this is ex actly what they were meant to do. By outlining


32 some of the ways that administrato rs talked about professors, I sugge st that the caricature of “bad professors” serves purposes both in the way admi nistrators craft their own status and as the rationale behind reform. These hierarchical artic ulations of difference, which build up a certain type of opposition, mask other tensions that exis t between administrators and professors and among administrators themselves, tensions that emerge in meetings a nd impromptu discussions about the LMD, and are often linked with histori cal and contemporary perceptions of inequality on the island. Administrators, in their m oves of differentiation, cast them selves as the arbiters of change, claiming a monopoly on knowledge. To th em, professors exist as part of another “culture.” Professors are seen as a part of th e population that possesses “normal” tendency to a fear change. Conversely, professors might be vi ewed as thoughtful actors, open to new ideas but in need of instruction. Either way, information is considered key to convincing professors of the utility of the LMD reform: It’s a question of information. Because in all countries there are always some elements who search like that – in any case I believe that in the US – there is always a little bit. The university is always a bit of a forum for political discussions, etcetera. All over the world It’s a universal fact, not for contes tation but for reflection, for debate [taped administrator interview, May 3, 2005] This professor spoke at length about the importa nce of informing these multiple actors about what the LMD was, and demonstrating that it was “objectively good,” by casting it, as I have said earlier, as a tool for the development of Ma dagascar. She said later in this interview that: it is above all an excellent, I believe, an excellent tool for the integration of local society. It is necessary to revi ew this system in relation to Ma lagasy society. Is the fact of leaving a lot more initiative to the students, which is the center of the system, going to promote development? ... And the passage [of the LMD] will perhaps integrate us into globalization but equally it will be an elemen t – I believe – for the betterment and durable development of the Malagasy society. [taped interview with a Vice President of the University of Antananarivo, May 3, 2005]


33 This interview emphasizes the idea that the LMD is a matter of “development” and fitting into “globalization.” The premise is that a sort of st agnation, already partially present, will occur if Madagascar doesn’t change its university structure. This sentiment refers back to the educational policies of earlier regimes that ar e widely perceived to have cut Ma dagascar off from the rest of the world, or cut those in the peri pheral regions off from advancement. I refer here specifically to Ratsiraka’s malgachisation policies in the seventies and eighties. The statement above also highlights the idea that more “information” would serve to convince detractors of the utility of this reform, fi rmly situating administrators as the arbiters of the objective “good” and mediat ors of knowledge. “Developme nt” and integration into “globalization” emerge as taken for granted goods . Professors often responded, as I will discuss below, by suggesting that the administration give s nowhere near enough information or even the right kind of information on the LMD. Rather, the “information” given by the administration appears as “rationalizations” whic h appeal to the hopes and fears of Malagasy people, hopes that reflect notions of “mobility” and “development” at their center. The term “rationalization” used here denotes this type of political rhetoric as “t he evocation of meanings that legitimize favored courses of action and threaten or reassure people so as to encourag e them to be supportive or to remain quiescent” (Edelman 1984: 11). In many wa ys this is precisely what the administration is up to – utilizing “development” and “integration” as discursive tropes that evoke images of “equality” and thus either casting LMD detractors as contrary to these sorts of generic rhetorical goals or forcing them to carry their argumen ts through reference to the same vocabulary. An important aspect of “rationalization” in government rhetoric is the “information” mobilized to create it, what Rose (1999) calls “regimes of trut h,” which are based on the “truth procedures and pronouncements of objective, positive or scientific discourses” (30). The truth


34 regime utilized to bolster the LMD is heavily dose d with statistics gathered by the Ministry of Education in 2003 and published in 2004. These sta tistics make up the backbone for much of the expertise claimed by the university administratio n and serve to supplement the story of “bad” professors, documenting their “lack” in numeric form. There are a number of issues that state statistics let fall away and prem ier among these are issues of et hnoregional inequality which will be examined below.13 For now, it is important to note that the characterizations of professors given by administrators are related to the rati onalization of their admi nistrative authority. Age is one statistical repres entation taken from state sources that bolsters administrators’ assertions that professors are “av erse to change.” I heard the same statistic about the age of professors time and again from almost every administrator I spoke w ith and from several professors. For administrators, professors’ “old” age was linked to their low status within the global academic community: Concerning the quality of the training, the uni versities we have very few professors, we have a lot of teaching assistants and lecturers, that’s what indicate s the “non” quality of education. We always have a large problem concerning the teachers. The teachers are all old – they are on average 54-55 years old. All the specialties – I am, of course, well placed to speak because I am coming from establ ishing the statistics – the specialties of our teachers – they are some “specimens.” For example in psychiatry we have only one professor in psychiatry and nothi ng more after that It’s because of that that I say that we have “specimens” but not any specialties as professions, which have always assured advancement. Its there where one finds th e problem, we have a large problem with advancement. We also have a large problem concerning training, pr ecisely for replacing the senior, the old, teachers. I say old because I make up a part of that group. [taped interview with a Vice President from th e University of Antananarivo, May 3, 2005] 13 Information is given on each of the nations six univers ities, their student populations, and the amount of funding they receive, but no actual percentages are calculated for these numbers, making it difficult to discern which universities are benefiting most. Separately, information is given on the number of professors, overall, and their rank with no reference to the universities they work at and no accounting of how many professors work at each university. Other excluded issues that seem to warrant men tion in state-gathered statistics include the number of full professors at each university and information on the region of origin for the student population. Evidence on primary and secondary education seems to suggest that a st atistical breakdown of ethnicity or region of origin represented at the university would reflect a strong bi as towards the highland Merina and Betsileo ethnicities (Clignet and Ernst 1995).


35 Preeminent in this discussion is a perceived stag nation of the Malagasy university, with progress being spear-headed by the current university and state administration. The current status quo is characterized above all by non-a dvancement on a number of fronts. The “advancement” of professors, according to this administrator, n ecessitated the ab ility to “move” around outside of Madagascar. She asserted that, “It is above all about the orga nizational plan, about the budget, because in order to advance them [professors wi thout advanced degrees] it is necessary to send them to the exterior” (taped interview with a Vice President from the University of Antananarivo, May 3, 2005). This administrator is signaling to another status difference between professors and members of the administration. Al most all administrators have spent some time in the exterior, and most received advanced degrees from universities in Europe or North America. The LMD is promoted here as a way to equalize these two popul ations, in addition to improving the Malagasy universities position vis-vis universities in the global “north.” Professors were further degraded for the work they did, a factor that was seen as directly related to their age: The old professors and that has a lot of consequences, no research policy no research at all most of the teachers do not do any research that means that their teaching programs are petrified, they haven’t change d they haven’t been changing for decades so they don’t follow the job markets. I would say that the greatest pa rt of higher education does not answer to, does not coincide with, soci al needs. [taped interview, Vice-President of the University of Toamasina April 27, 2005] This administrator also told me that professors pr esented the same research year after year at the forums set up by the Ministry of Education. Admi nistrators are crafting research and education as petrified; locked into a sort of academic stasis that benefits neither students nor the country. This petrification links directly to ideas of “mobility” and “development,” as professors are depicted as immobile actors whose work does nothing for the “development” of the country.


36 According to university administrators, th e LMD addresses these issues, the idea of “static” and “petrified” faculty, by increasing “mobility.” As one administrator described it: Now, concerning the professors also, when I say mobility, mobility for the professors, it means to go to the exterior or to come from the exterior here in order to reinforce manpower, because, as I told you before, we are really missing this, but with the LMD system, with the inter-university agreements, with all of the other partners, I believe that is really essential for insuring good education in Madagascar. [tap ed administrator interview, May 3, 2005] The mobility of “other” professors, the possibility that French faculty could come to Madagascar to teach, is the other side of this idea of “petri fied” faculty. In the same way that the “mobility” of Malagasy professors might jump start their “petrified” t eaching programs, making foreign faculty mobile might aid in re-invigorating these “old ” professors. In talking to me or to “interuniversity” partners made up of university pr esidents from the “developed” world, these characterizations of bad professors illustrat ed the importance of the LMD for what the government conceives as “progress” in Madagasc ar, and also speak to what the university administration wants out of these university partne rships, namely the ability to allow professors out to finish their studies and to allow other (forei gn, most likely European or North American) professors in to offer a “better” curriculum. Ther e is little doubt that the university system is not living up to expectations, that th ere are serious problems, and th at the degrees they offer don’t bring the kind of social mobility they promise. Still, the idea here is that agents from the exterior, or professors trained in the exterior, will be be tter able to fulfill this need. As another administrator put it, with the LMD “maybe some specialties could be developed in Madagascar which could attract student s or professors from abroad. That is always good for universities” (taped interview with Vice Pres ident from the Univer sity of Toamasina, April 27, 2005). Administrators also perceive a “cultural” problem among professors. One of the first meetings on the LMD I attended elicited multip le comments on the “reticence” of professors


37 which were not necessarily related to age. These involved their style of interaction with students, which one administrator from the Un iversity of Antananarivo suggested was more parental, stating “they treat stud ents like children.” She asserted that it would be extremely difficult to get professors to cha nge this behavior. The idea was that professors spent too much time with their students, were t oo involved in their studies and their papers, and basically held their hands through the educational process. Th e way this administrato r chose to describe professors relates to the idea of students as “independent” actors. If, as the Ministry of Education suggests, the LMD offers students mo re freedom to choose their studies, the overinvolvement of professors in their choices must be changed. This univers ity “culture” is another way of referring to what some ot her administrators call the “corr uption” of professors discussed below. More specific behaviors are linked to professors’ use of paid overtime or heures complimentaires . Recently, the government enacted a cap on the number of overtime hours professors could be compensated for. This reform was accompanied by another which capped the number of students each professor could dire ct. According to one administrator, each of these reforms was meant as a signal of the admi nistration’s willingness to carry out reforms. This signaling was directed, according to this admi nistrator, to external funding agencies, namely the World Bank, which specifically call out these behaviors as problematic in their published policy suggestions (World Bank 2002). By signaling the will to reform, the state would be able to stake a claim on funding dollars that would help to pay for the LMD’s implementation. For the administration, these reforms amounted to a way to cut back on what they described as professors’ exploitation of the sy stem. One administrator suggest ed that it was impossible that professors worked the number of hours they ch arged the government for, and that they were


38 taking on students and logging hours simply to obtain access to bigger paychecks. What emerges here is the formation, thr ough rhetoric, of professors as a corrupt and unethical class. Beyond their age and culture, some professors were caricatured as simple political appointments, results of past political maneuve ring by the former regime. They are implicated specifically in Ratsiraka’s failed educational policies of malgachization and democratization . Malgachization consisted primarily of the transition of teaching materials from the French language to the Malagasy language and the systema tic replacement of expa triate personnel in the educational system (Brown 2000; Sharp 2002). Democratization , sometimes called massification , consisted of the opening up of departme nts in each of the regions and admitting (and funding) large numbers of students (Ratsiraka 1975; Pe rsonal Communication). Both policies failed due to a lack of material resources. The linkage of current professors to these reforms implies that they are both ex pendable and politically problematic: It’s something which is linked to the malgachization, which is the massification which is called here the democratization of higher educat ion. That means that the main departments have been opened for, let’s say for political reasons, you know, just to fill the sta tistics of the government. So we have four history de partments in the whole of Madagascar, you know, things like that. So one of the consequen ces, this is going to be very very difficult to make reforms in those sectors for polit ical reasons. [taped interview with a Vice President from the University of Toamasina, April 27, 2005] Their quality, from this quote, emerges as questiona ble in as far as it is linked to the prevailing politics of a previous era. More over, partisanship is perceived to preclude progress, at least as far as the partisans are for the former (Ratsira ka) regime. The opening of these departments is linked to concessions made to regions by the Ra tsiraka regime. The regional universities only gained autonomy from the University of Anta nanarivo in 1993, prior to which most decisions about how the university would be run and where resources would go were made by the administration in Antananarivo. Humanities depart ments were set up to offset complaints about the fact that the central univ ersity in Antananarivo had th e monopoly on university education,


39 with the largest concentration of departments and professors. The former system also meant that students wanting to study certain subjects had no c hoice but to move to An tananarivo in order to attain their degree. Setting up Humanities departments was seen as a cost-effective way to provide these concessions to the regional areas; yet this was a concession that administra tors depicted as doing little for the “development” of Madagascar. Thus one administrator suggested, “it’s very easy to open a philosophy department for instance, so we ha ve that kind of department, which is not very useful in that quantity. I don’t mean that philo sophy is not useful, but if you have four/ five philosophy departments, that is less useful” (t aped interview with Vice President of the University of Toamasina April 27, 2005). Closin g these departments also fits with the World Bank’s policy agenda for Madagascar.14 Seen within the “new ” goals of the university administration under the LMD reforms, humanities are fields that do little to address “real needs” in a country which is atte mpting to turn in the: direction of trying to impleme nt a university in this li beral way of thinking higher education. That means it should be related to societal needs, not in a very general way like that. But let’s say we are in a region wher e fishing should be developed. So that the university in that region should tr y to give an answer to thos e questions related to that. [taped interview with Vice President University of Toamasina, April 27, 2005] The hiring of professors, particularly in the (l ow-cost) humanities departments that were set up, was entangled in the ethnoregional politics of Ma dagascar which pit center against periphery and highlander against ctier . The results of these policies al so disproportionately affected the peripheral regions, often improving th e quantity but not the quality of education in these areas. Identifying professors as political appointees of a bygone era linked to non-quality education 14 It is interesting to note that while the World Bank bemoans about the duplication of departments in both the humanities and the sciences, chemistry and physics departments were never mentioned in my interviews. Furthermore, most of the administrators involved in the LMD were in humanities departments. In the case of the administrator quoted above, he was, for all intents and purposes, the history department at his coastal university.


40 allows administrators to once again pose themselv es as (apolitical) progressives in a new era that is concerned with objectives beyond political patronage. Through their designations of “others,” admi nistrators make powerful statements about themselves. Their claims to rationality vis--vi s uninformed and corrupt pr ofessors do more than simply quiet the opposition. They also delineate the stat us of “expert” and the perceived control of “information.” Mitchell (2002), Steine r-Khamsi (2004), and O ng (2005) all discuss “expertise” in its many guises. Mitchell, in sp eaking of “development” e xpertise, states that: Development discourse wishes to present itsel f as a detached center of rationality and intelligence. The relationship between West and non-West will be constructed in these terms. The West possesses the expertise, technology, and management skills that the nonWest is lacking. This lack is what has cau sed the problems of the non-West. Questions of power and inequality, whether on the global leve l or the more local level will nowhere be discussed. [2002: 242-243] This is an important starting point both becau se of Mitchell’s focus on donor-mandated reform and because of the continuing relevance of th is idea in more recent work tackling more contemporary problems. This is the sort of di scourse that, split apart, makes it possible for Steiner-Khamsi to suggest that “Western” mode ls of education are attractive to foreign governments precisely because they are foreign or for Ong to suggest that “in the quest for a knowledge society, expertise and entrepreneurial values are re placing ethnicity and political loyalty...” and that “ethnic governmentality” is be ing “destabilized” (2005: 339). In Madagascar, within the small corner of the university that I am examining, we may be able to replace the “West” in the above quote with “universit y administrators” and the “non-West” with “professors.” Administrators certainly pose th emselves as experts w ho have studied the LMD and the state of the university in Madagascar. Th ey also posit themselves as progressives, armed with reason and primed to take th e nation of Madagascar forward.


41 In a sense, what I have de scribed thus far is only rhetoric and could be dismissed by a cynic as political speech acts that generalize themselves out of meaning. However, these characterizations also signal an allegiance betw een the university administ ration and the goals of the new political regime headed by President Ma rc Ravelomanana. Administrators, offered upor-down choices, align themselves with the higher st atus points within the hierarchy. They are, to put it simply, ambitious. This ambition leads into the legitimizing function of the university administration carried out through their ro le as “spokespersons” for the LMD. This particular incarnation of state legitimation is slightly different from what Bourdieu (1996) described as emanating from the provisio n of academic freedom in a university system where agents are in turn paid by th e state. In that case, the ability to speak serves as a marker of the freedom given in a society; state-sponsored di ssent becomes a marker of legitimacy. In this case, the administrators tap into a regime of truth, rather than di ssent, as a source of legitimacy. This stance obscures their investment in the future of the state, which more stringently assures their status given their space in the governing stru cture. It is also different from SteinerKhamsi’s (2004) assertion that outside models are used to avoid the perception that statesponsored reforms are overly political. Administrato rs rarely, if ever, mentioned the need to be like the “developed” nations whic h already have the LMD. Rath er, the LMD was promoted as a way to “integrate” into “globalization,” and was specifically tied to what administrators’ speech suggests is an “objective” good, desp ite its basis in the nations of Europe and North America. Administrators actively craft themselves as ex perts who know what is “best” for the nation, people who have the benefit of knowledge and inform ation that is lacking in other groups. In this way, reform emerges as “made-in” Madagas car, and arrived at thro ugh “expert” and logical analysis. More importantly, Mitc hell’s (2002) assertion about deve lopment discourse is shifted –


42 Administrators become the “rational” actors capab le of reforming “bad professors” and it is the West that is effaced (along with the inequality). And what of those “questions of power and inequality” that pass undiscussed? Simultaneous with these powerful, if fleeting, di visions between professors and administrators are undercurrents and tensions, ideas and indivi duals that compete over who will get what and who can stake a claim on the most rational, the most objectively good distribu tion of resources. The Struggle over “Rationality” At the same time that administrators’ offici al speech acts delineate among status positions within the bureaucratic hierar chy, a series of center-periphery differences emerge. Rose describes the ways the cleavages emerge in the seemingly unanimous stances, like those of the bureaucrats discussed above: Political Rationalities are di scursive fields characterized by shared vocabulary within which disputes can be organized, by ethical principles that can communicate with one another, by mutually intelligible explan atory logics, by commonly accepted facts, by significant agreement on key political problems. Within this zone of intelligible contestation, different political forces infuse the various elements with distinct meanings, link them within distinct thema tics, and derive different conc lusions as to what should be done, by whom and how. [1999: 28] Within Madagascar, struggles ensue among admi nistrators over what constitutes the most “rationalized” use of resources. It is within these debates that reform carries the potential to strengthen or shift already ex isting inequalitie s on the island. “Rationalization” and the c onstruction of administrator ex pertise through the foil of the “bad professor” and statistical regimes of tr uth tend to obscure ethnor egional tensions on the island. Rarely stated explicitl y, ethnoregional difference often emerged as the subtext of the narratives I was given. It was in this way that an (Merina) administrator who worked at a university in a coastal province of Toamasina, Madagascar rec ounted an incident that had occurred in his office some weeks before. At the time, rumors were going around about the


43 LMD and the complex of reforms that are connected to it. A ( ctier ) professor from the university came in and accused this particular (Mer ina) administrator of being the main author of the heures complimentaires reform. The ( ctier ) professor, as the admi nistrator described the incident, believed that the (Merina) administrato r was acting out a personal vendetta against him, and proceeded to place his hands around the administ rator’s neck and attempt to strangle him. A struggle ensued, ending with the administrator th e victor, alive and well, while the professor slumped off. While this story may or may not be true, its narration reveals a numbe r of divisions. Two civil servants, hierarchically unequal, scuffle over a reform. At once, it seems that the only pertinent boundaries created in the retelling of this story are thos e of the bureaucratic hierarchy. The administrator is presented in this story as rational victim to the irrational acts of another, who is already cast as unethical by virtue of his position as a professo r. But if we read the story along with its parenthetical high lights, and if I add to the context a (sometimes perceived, sometimes real) history of Merina domina nce and hegemony over Malagasy coastal ( ctier ) groups, and the fact that every uni versity in Madagascar has at l east one highland (either Merina or Betsileo) administrator in its two highest admi nistrative positions, so that our administrator emerges singled out above another ( ctier ) administrator equally i nvolved in this reform, something else emerges. The story becomes not just a story about crafting one’s own position, alongside the state, as a rational and ethical ac tor, but also one of propagating a story of difference between administrators and professors and between Merina and ctier . Being “rational” and “ethical,” and tel ling stories about rationality and corruption casts administrators in a politically advantageous pos ition from which they may purs ue higher status within the


44 bureaucracy, but it also acts to pr eserve the status quo, or the pe rceived status quo, in which the island continues to be subject to a (sometimes real sometimes perceived) Merina hegemony. What ensued in debates about the LMD were the same sort of parenthetical issues, only this time with administrators from coastal regi ons questioning and contes ting the centrality of the highlands within this series of reforms. While much of thei r contestation emerged in snide remarks and asides made while administrators from Antananarivo were out of earshot, coastal administrators attempted to re-route the discussion in a way that carried the potential to define a new meaning for university rationalization. This potential, however, is structured both by the conventions of bureaucratic action and a national situation in which most resources are already concentrated in the literal and fi gurative center of the island. The center/periphery, highland/ ctier relations particular to Ma dagascar are nested within wider power relations between “ northern” actors and experts who come to Madagascar to promote and facilitate the implementation of the LMD and the actors and experts of the “southern” areas they visit. These are the dynamics that many scholars such as Ong (2006) and Mitchell (2002) have focused their attention on in their discussions of the proliferation of “experts” and certain forms of “expertise.” Howe ver, as the Malagasy government attempts to make this reform their own, local power differentials enter the fo reground even while the official rhetoric denies them. Four years after a political crisis in which a ctier president tried to rally other regions against the highlands , official speech snuffs out re ference to many of the real and perceived disparities that exist wi thin Madagascar while interactions continue to reveal them. I attended two administrative meetings on the LMD with foreign “experts” and “technicians” from France and Canada, each of wh ich was spatially organi zed with these nested “centers” in prominent positions. Each was held in a room with conference tables set up in the


45 shape of a “U.” On the wall beyond the open side of the “U,” power-poi nt presentations were displayed. The bottom of the “U,” the central sp ace in the room or the “head” of the table, was always taken by the (Merina) president of the University of Antananarivo and the “distinguished” guests for the meeting: a Canadian technician from the University of Laval in Quebec and ministry personnel at one meeting, and the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of French universities that came to offer their own expe rtise on the implementation of the LMD at the other. The sides of each “U” were occupied by vice-presidents from the University of Antananarivo and vice-presidents an d presidents from the 5 regional universities. On the face of it, there is a simple calculation at work in this spatial orientation. The University of Antananarivo has the largest student body and the largest infrastructural capacity. Yet this arrangement endows those at the he ad of the table with a certain status and establishes a relation of parity between the president of the University of Antananarivo and the distinguished “experts” and “technicians” brought to talk about the LMD, at least within the stru cture of the room. It was in this way that regional university administ rators saw their power as independent university presidents being usurped by the president of th e University of Antananarivo. He became the spokesman for the Malagasy university system, and by virtue of his physical as well as status position, could speak intimate ly with the other disti nguished personnel present. The president of the University of Antana narivo furthered this role as spokesman by presenting the history of the “Malagasy Univ ersity” at an administrative meeting with representatives from five French universities. Interestingly, during his synopsis, the point at which universities rece ived their independence from the cen tral university (1993; World Bank 2002) was omitted. Instead, the re gional universities were identif ied as established in 1988 and the next date given is 2002, the year of the pr esidential “crisis” when Ratsiraka disputed his


46 electoral loss. This rhetorical positioning, both of him and of the university, mirrored the effect of the seating arrangement in these meetings . The central university emerged as the representative of all th e universities and the point through wh ich all outside actors must pass in order to get to the regional universities. Th is dynamic of representation was problematic to regional university administrators who seemed to feel that each universit y, being an independent entity, ought to have some equal weight in th e implementation process and equal access to the material and logistical support that th e French universities could offer. The fault lines that follow the ethnic, raci al, and regional configur ations of difference boiled over towards the end of this two day mee ting when the President of the University of Antananarivo went outside to take a phone call.15 While he was out of earshot, regional university presidents began to complain, in front of the representatives of the French universities, that the President of the Univ ersity of Antananarivo always took up the spokesperson position. For them this meant that the central univers ity would garner the highest reward from any partnerships that emerged from these meetings. An (Merina) administrator from the University of Toamasina, good friends with the French emissa ry that was present at these meetings, sensed a problem in these outbursts against the Presid ent of Antananarivo. In response, he took his French friend and another French official out for a drink after the meeting in order to smooth over the potential conflict. He suggested that it was just a hold -over of “tribalism,” but nothing really to worry about – just the way “some” Mala gasy are. “You of course, have to know the ‘culture,’” he said. But was this about a hold-ov er of “tribalism,” or more about a perception of infrastructural inequality? Coul d this outburst be interpreted as a counter-hegemonic attempt to 15 He answered one of his two cell phones – another sign of his status – one from the company Orange, another from Madacom.


47 build an alliance between administrators who pe rceive themselves as ethnoregional subalterns and the French? This administrator’s actions (his smoothi ng over of potential conf lict) were a common tactic. He once declared himself “well-coloni zed” and often mitigated the conflict created by jibes at French colonialism or French expatriate s. “Madagascar” and the “Malagasy” were rerepresented to the French in meetings about educ ational reform so that they might see a certain type of “rational” and “worthy” actor in the Malagasy university, an actor that just happened to be from the highlands. Difference was eschewed between elite (highland) Malagasy and their French counterparts by labeling administrators who complained about ethnoregional inequality as “tribalist” and therefore marginal. Yet the fact that university administrators waited until the President of the University of Antananarivo left the room to speak out agai nst the proxemics of the meeting was not the bubbling over of “irrational triba lism.” Rather, it was a conscious act and part of a performance that could illustrate to these new French partners the existence of an incongruity that the French had already weighed in on. Earl ier French constructions of di fference and inequality among the inhabitants of the island had included claims that the highland Merina: seek everywhere and in every manner thei r goal of bringing into their hands, in Tanananarive, the direction of a ll affairs. In every situation they proclaim themselves the representatives of the Malagasy people, when they are nothing but th e representatives of the hova16 race [Rey-Lescure, French Missionary, in a letter outlining a plan to reorganize the mission, October 17, 1927, quot ed in Raison-Jourde 2002b: 209]. Even earlier, French observers characterized the Merina ethnicity/kingdom as a foreign occupier, thus legitimizing French intervention in the pre-colonial era (Boi s 2002: 103). Coastal administrators, in the instances described a bove, were asserting thei r right to speak for 16 Hova is actually the name of a caste, referring to fre e commoners in the Kingdom of Imerina (Raison-Jourde 2002a).


48 themselves and to direct their relations with othe r universities. They were also signaling towards a type of hegemony and center-periphery domin ation that has been both highlighted and furthered by French historical te xts. The continued voice given to this particular conglomeration of inequality thus played a pa rt in the moral legitimation of French colonial intervention. Another incident illustrating the way these issues seeped in to the implementation of the LMD unfolded on the end of the s econd day of meetings with Fren ch university administrators. The meeting culminated in the creation of a cont ract for university partnership, a linkage that would give Malagasy universiti es access to resources and manpow er through virtual universities and equipment transfers. Again conflict emerged as regional university administrators battled it out with university administrators from the University of Antananarivo about whether the contract should be worded to say the “Unive rsity of Madagascar” or the “universities of Madagascar.” This must have seemed rather pe tty to the French university presidents, but for administrators it was an impor tant distinction. Representa tives of the University of Antananarivo argued that the singular acted as a blanket term, signaling the university system. For regional university representa tives, however, the singular repr esented a dangerous possibility in that it could easily be read as the University of Antananari vo, and no other university. This meant, for them, that once again the University of Antananarivo would profit the most from international linkages. Using “universities” w ould afford, to their minds, the proper place to each of the six regional institutions, and put th ese on equal footing vis--vis claims to any benefits emanating from these partnerships. These struggles over how the university syst em in Madagascar, or the universities of Madagascar, will be defined within the LMD reform add another dimension to the ways that reform unfolds and point to some distinct possibiliti es for the future. Internal to the hierarchical


49 differentiation created as administrators promot e the LMD are fissures. Whether they run along the same lines of differentiation as the administra tor/professor divide or within the administration itself, these fissures make up an important part of the reform that is taking place in the Malagasy university system. As they emerge, they are code d as “rational” or “irr ational,” illustrating a struggle over the spoils of university reformation. These lines of rationality come under dispute as different ethnoregional groupi ngs vie for the power to define what will be considered “rational” within this universi ty rationalization. But administ rators are not the only ones invested in the LMD reform and the precise way it is implemented in Madagascar, nor are they the only ones claiming the privileged space of expert. The remainder of this analysis turns of the ways professors frame their opposition to the LMD and whether and how these frames bear on the ethnoregional inequality discussed above. Professors Talk Back: Northern Hegemony, the “Bad” State, and the Fusion of Power Professors have constructed their own wa ys of challenging the administration’s characterization of them as “p etrified” and “corrupt.” Their efforts are not constituted as opposition to the LMD per se. In fact, their o fficial speech accepts the LMD as inevitable, expressing the sentiment that they “cannot escape the LMD – its globalization” (taped Professor interview A, May 5, 2005). They use this type of speech as a jumping off point to criticize the state and destabilize its positioning as a lone pol icy creator. These rhetorical responses often pick up on the cues of administrative discourse and then shift thes e around, accenting the importance of other actors who drive, or should dr ive, policy. The role of funding agencies is highlighted, as professors cast administrators and the state as tools of western hegemony, bent to the political wills of outsiders. By utilizing western hegemony as a rhetorical benchmark, professors refer back to past political regi mes and popular opposition to their “pro-western” policies. In crafting thei r own “regime of truth,” professors sugge st that they are the true experts,


50 existing closer to the real Madaga scar and thus better able to re spond to the “real social needs” that this reform purports to addres s. Administrators, in this rhetor ic, emerge as the state’s actors, their credibility diminished by th eir position in the university/state hierarchy. They also mobilize statistics to back up these cl aims, using other nations of Af rica as a foil to the Malagasy educational system. All of thes e rhetorical twists serve to fu rther mask ethnoregional issues on the island while at the same time raising the pos sibility of erasing di stinctions by localizing expertise in the professors themselves. Mitchell (2002: 37) discusses the ways that expertise is shifted and becomes centralized in one site when discussing the ways the Aswan damn repositioned the status of expertise away fr om localized individuals. Ong (2005: 341) goes further, acknowledging the ways expertise become s concentrated within expatriate status, an issue professors in Madagascar highlight and seek to undermin e. In this schema, foreign expertise, and by association the expertise as serted by university administrators, becomes “inauthentic” and professors suggest their own e xpertise is constituted th rough their closeness to local realities. In this way, professors are re-o rienting expertise as they seek to resist this tendency to centralize expertise in figurative and literal “centers.” The rhetorical work undertaken by professors, like the administrative rhetoric discussed above, reveals some forms of differentiation wh ile obscuring others. This rhetoric also emphasizes hierarchical differences that might not be so apparent or static. Professors as a group live in much the same way as administrators, th ough their upward mobility is often curtailed if they don’t carry the proper credentials. More ofte n than not these credentia ls are linked to time in the exterior and level of advanced degree, mean ing that these sorts of difference, at different times, may align with the bureaucratic hierarchy between professors and administrators. Thus certain current members of the professor group may one day act as administrators (and, as


51 described earlier, administrators often return to teaching positions). That being said, the status differential among professors was not apparent in the discussions I had with professors, who often reserved their ire for the current administration. Another fo rm of differentiation that might be expected here should also be mentioned. Due to a hiring freeze enacted some twenty years ago and at the behest of inte rnational lending institutions (p ersonal communication, MENRS vol. I: 2004), almost all of the professors I spoke with were of the same gene ration. The age statistics mentioned above are directly related to this poli cy. Thus the generationa l differences that might be expected in other university systems are not pr esent in Madagascar. The differences that are present are often, at least rhetoric ally, trumped by bigger issues. “Northern” Hegemony One method through which professors dispute the cen tralized (state initiated) nature of the LMD and suggest their own primacy in this reform is through a critique of funding agencies and the state’s involvement with them. Relations between Madagascar and external lenders are framed as a dangerous hegemonic partnership of which the LMD is just one part: It’s primary education that is the priority in the policies of donors. And we see, we Malagasy, we see these donor policies that wa nt to make the Malagasy, and poor countries in general, subordinate, to put it simply, to inve stors, to foreigners. Because even now, the policy of the state is to appeal to investors, to foreigners, and to donors. [taped interview A, May 5, 2005] I conducted this interview with an historian from the Univers ity of Antananarivo, and his wife, a teacher at a private school in the capital. Th ey were politically active during the “socialist” revolution that brought Pr esident Didier Ratsiraka to power in 1972 and were both wary of the current president’s policies. At this point in th e interview the private school teacher interrupted, stating: “This is how we intellect uals understand the situa tion. It seems as if, from the lenders there is a kind of policy that education, higher education mostl y, is not a priority” (taped


52 interview A, May 5, 2005). Her husband went on to the subject of resear ch (discussed below) and then returned to the issue of lenders: And the policy – there is still this anchor in the policies of lenders. And our leaders do nothing but carry out the dictates of the lenders because they, what we call consultants or international experts, don’t value the diploma of the native, the Malagasy, but we pay them 10 or 20 times the salary of th e higher level executives in Madagascar. [taped interview A, May 5, 2005] The way these professors speak about educati on runs parallel to wider discourses where Madagascar is a part of a gr oup of poor countries being subjug ated by the “north.” Supporting primary and secondary rather than university educ ation is interpreted by th ese educators as a way to keep the Malagasy under-e ducated, and thus in a positio n to serve the needs of the “developed” world. The professors I spoke with emphasized their need to have a voice in the future of the university, suggesting, “We must adopt the LMD – but it is not necessary to adopt just anything – We cannot copy” (taped interview A, May 5, 2005) . This reference to “copying” questions the legitimacy of reforms and policie s hatched “elsewhere,” and by association, suggests that the Malagasy state and university administrators are engaged in inauthentic ac ts. In the summer of 2005 the College des Enseignants , the associatio n of professors on the island,17 took out a full page ad questioning the implementation of the LMD and its links to outside agencies. The authors state: The imminent decision of the minister to go to the LMD system, which signifies an alignment of the courses and resources to intern ational standards, runs the risk of creating an untenable situation when combined with the hiring freeze imposed by lenders, the decrepit and insufficient infrastructures, and th e limited capacity of classrooms. [College des Enseignants, Les Nouvelles March 15, 2005: 9] 17 This should not be confused w ith the trade union, known as the Syndicat des Enseignants Chercheurs de l'Enseignement Suprieur (SECES). The College is characterised by automatic, ra ther than voluntary, membership.


53 Mobilizing three examples taken from the curre nt state of the university, each of which was mentioned by university administrators, the College des Enseignants suggests that alignment with outside interests is danger ous and re-centers the status of professors as experts who can better direct the course of reform. The College des Enseignants continues: In order to face these challenges and taking in to account the role of public universities in development, the country needs a long term vi sion for education in general, and higher education and research in partic ular, wherever these ministeria l changes take us will result in part from the abse nce of this vision. The policy of higher education and research necessitates mature reflection, based on dialogue between the supervising ministry, pr ofessors, and students without excluding the private sector or civil societ y. This policy should respond to some fundamental questions: What are the real needs of Madagascar? Is it academic or profe ssional training? The professors are not against this reform, rather they believe that a preliminary dialogue is necessary. [College des Enseignants, Les Nouvelles March 15, 2005: 9] This view was echoed almost word for word in my interviews with professors where the need for more “information” and for a “round table” disc ussion was viewed as the best possible way to convince administrators of the impor tance of professorial expertise. This sentiment belies a view of administrators as devotees of a state that bl indly follows the dictates of the “North.” The question of “real needs” emerges as well. Used by administrators to denote the main advantages of the LMD system and a mainstay of universit y “rationalization,” the use of the term here signals an assertion that professors are better able to assess these needs. In this way, what administrators have cal led the “non-quality” of university professors, their lack of advanced degrees an d/or time in the exterior, become s a marketable asset. Whereas administrators are cast as representatives of the “west,” professors become cast as protectors of the Malagasy. This response seeks to decentrali ze authority by situating it further down in the hierarchy with a more “authentic” agent. Insofar as it suggests a diffusion of power, it seems as if this tact may hold some capac ity to equalize the uneven nature of the university structure in Madagascar. However, while some members of each group may concern themselves with the


54 unevenness of ethnoregional nodes of power, work ing within the LMD paradigm even with seemingly diffuse power often reinforces inequa lity. This potential exists because this new policy is being adapted to an ec onomically uneven system that re fuses to officially acknowledge its already existing inequalities. By making northern hegemony a main focus of their rhetoric, prof essors tap into a powerful inside/outside divide which pits glob al “center” against global “periphery.” This rhetorical move raises sentimen ts and memories of power and control from the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial past in which Merina governance (and island wide educational reform) was supplanted by French colonialism, which was in turn supplanted by pro-French governance immediately after independence in 1960 (Koerner 1999; Brow n 2000; Covell 1987). These shifts were followed by a pseudo-socialist st ate headed by Didier Ratsiraka that persisted from the early seventies till the early nineties wh en the nation shifted the focus of its governing ideology (Gow 1997; Sharp 2002). Professors’ st atements echo the arguments of Nyamnjoh and Jua (2004), who deploy an idea of “western” imitation embedded with in “western” style education, with all its historical ties to colonialism, as the ro ot of “crisis” in the African university and one of the main obstacles to de mocracy and development on the continent (see also Murungi 2004). The focus on “development” fo r Nyamnjoh and Jua is tied to the silencing of critical voices that are nece ssary for the critique of the university system, its forms of knowledge, and the state. In administrative rhetor ic about globalization, professors have found a powerful frame of reference that links to Madaga scar’s specific historical circumstances. Education, since the early 1800s, has been variously seen as a threat to Malagasy culture and a necessary tool for advancement (Koerner 1999; Ellis 1985; Sharp 2002). This dynamic seems to be resurfacing in the articulation of oppos ition to the LMD in Madagascar today.


55 While I do not dispute the sentiment expr essed in Nyamnjoh and Jua (2004), I would suggest that there are at least two contexts that make up reality here. Certainly global hegemony exists, but nested within it is local inequality that is expre ssed along ethnoregional lines. The Merina/ ctier divide is a prime example of this nesting, as it was and still is the highland Merina ethnicities that are viewed as closer to the “w est” despite a complicated and often messy history in which the French actively tried to dimini sh Merina status and during which the Merina oscillated between pro-Western and protectioni st stances (Raison-Jour de and Randrianja 2002; Koerner 1999; Sharp 2002; Ellis 1985). For better or worse the Merina/ ctier divide has shaped the way resources have been distributed on the island and the way governance ha s evolved. One major concern has been the continuing centralization of power and resources in the highlands of Ma dagascar. This has geographically concentrated govern ance in the region most closely associated with the Merina ethnicity (Raison-Jourde and Randrianja 2002; Marcus and Ratsimbaharison 2005; Covell 1987).18 One powerful example of this dynamic was the failure of the French, who often sought to marginalize the already powerful Merina,19 to institute administrativ e schools in the peripheral regions during colonialism. The schools were ind eed set up, but as funds were tight they were almost as quickly shut down by a colonial administration attempting to rule on the cheap (Koerner 1999; Brown 2000).20 The centralization of power in the highlands is particularly visible now, with Marc Ravelomanana – a highland Merina and the former mayor of 18 Officially, Madagascar claims to be a federalist state, however much of th eir power is centralized at the top, particularly within the office of the president. 19 The French utilized coastal fears of Merina domination in order to defeat the Merina in the late 19th century and continued to play on perceptions of highland domination throughout their tenure (Sharp 2002, Bois 2002). 20 The colonial period in Madagascar was characterized by a seemingly constant oscillation between interventions meant to “improve” the colonial condition, and thus stamp out opposition, and a retreat from these projects. This is particularly visible in Koerner’s (1999) account of education in Madagascar.


56 Antananarivo – in the presidency. Skirting this ethnoregional issue, professors have focused in on the “state,” using bad governance as a leve r to oppose the proposed implementation of the LMD and to defend their position. To them the l ack of any real resources for research and education has made them into the caricature traced out by admini strators. The administration’s rhetoric of “bad” professors is flipped around as the same material is turned to define the “bad” state. Like the anti-Western discourses that ar e closely interrelated to it, the “bad” state is a familiar trope in Madagascar, an entity that throug hout history has come to exist as very real for very many Malagasy (Randrianja 2003; Marc us and Ratsimbaharison 2005; Ratsiraka 1972; Interviews). The “Bad” State If “bad” professors do “bad” research, it is the st ate who forces them into this bind. On the one hand, professors do not see any funding coming out of the state: Research which, I didn’t say that we didn’t en courage the teachers to do research, but we don’t promote research. For example, from th e vantage point of gr ants we don’t provide too many grants which are of importance to research in Madagascar It’s that the environment does not encourage research and th en publication. [taped interview A, May 5, 2005] The College des Enseignants , the association of Malagasy teachers mentioned above, seconds this sentiment, using spending statistics to re-focus the discussion on the state: Now moreover, higher education is the priority of priorities in matte rs of education and research, as witness the investment figures below (Kenya: male 21%, female 26% year 1994 – Ghana: male 44%, female 25% year 199 8 – South Africa: black males 32% black women 46%, white males 20%, white females 12% year 1993 – Source: T.P Shultz, 2004, Social Value of Research and Technical Skill s : Does It Justify Investment in Higher Education for Development, Journal of Higher Education in Africa, Vol.2, N 1, pp.93135), such is not the case in Madagascar. In fact, the portion of Higher Education and Sc ientific Research in the investment spending in Madagascar has not ceased to diminish, passing from 3.1% in 2002 to 1.1% in 2004. The situation is similar for spending on Public education and research going from 4.3% to 3.6%. In the same time peri od, total enrollment passed from 21,599 to 26,543 for the 6


57 universities, an increase of 21.9% . [College des Enseignants, Les Nouvelles March 15, 2004] That they use statistics from outside Madagascar is telling. This use of statistics also echoes the statistical practices of administra tors. Mobilizing these statisti cs furthers the self-imaging of professors as “experts” who shoul d have a voice in the future of the Malagasy university system. Using foreign statistics also offers an implicit critique of the univers ity administration and the Ministry of Education and through them the st ate. Through these pronouncements, professors lay claim on the status of “expert” and through th at re-assert their value within the educational system. They construct their own “regime of trut h” to confront official government rhetoric. Material outlay is a major f acet of professors’ characteriza tion of the incompetence of the state. They often questioned how professors coul d “do” research if they lacked the basic funds to carry it out? I was directed to a profe ssor in Tamatave (Toamasina province) who had attended “all” the meetings on the LMD. He was presented as an expert on a reform (the LMD) that many of the professors I spoke with claimed not to know much about.21 We set up a meeting in the office of another professor – one who pulled triple duty as the local president of the College des Enseignants , an administrator for the baccalaurat in Toamasina province, and a philosophy instructor at the University of Toam asina. His office also acted as a local copy center, with our meeting punctuated by patrons th rusting papers through the barred window into the hands of an attendant. The professor I was speaking to, the local “expert” on the LMD, described the obstacles to this reform: First of all, in order to be able to institute the LMD it is necessary to be at the same level of developed countries. Because – first – and al so the salary and th e research funding, ok – Look, in developed countries a teacher never wa lks – in developed countries, never in their lives. He is going to have a big house, all the comforts. He will live well, as much as any university professor. But here – it’s not like that. First, the condition of work – even the 21 Their own claims notwithstanding, many held strong opinions about this reform and the way it was being enacted.


58 office, salary, research funding – How can we do research? To go, for example, I don’t know, 250 kilometers on a bus? And even – we don’t give you money, there isn’t any, because you need to have a car for, I don’t know , a week with a car. With a hotel to live in, that sort of thing. The people that you are going to interview, that you will have to pay – all sorts of things like that – it’s like that in developed countries, but here [taped interview, May 18, 2005] I heard the argument that Madagascar was “di fferent” from the developed world on several occasions, sometimes with professors, sometimes with administrators. At one point during a meeting with a Canadian expert on the LMD, ad ministrators countered the foreign expert’s idealism about the LMD by suggesting that unlik e the Canadian situa tion, Madagascar didn’t have big industry to help fund their research, th ey weren’t a developed c ountry. For professors, however, the lack of research funding illustrates the failure of a state that is jumping into a reform because it is done elsewhere, because all the developed countries ar e doing it. Of course, the actual situation is much more complicated. Si mply stated, it is unlikely that the state will get funding for higher education if th ey don’t follow the models of other, “developed,” countries. That being said, this dimension of professor’s rh etoric again suggests the ways that they craft themselves as “inside” and “authentic” and thus as possessing a type of “e xpertise” that emanates from on-the-ground experience. Similarly, paid overtime hours, a major is sue for both the World Bank and the university administration, are re-cast as a necessity born of the state’s mismanagement of university education. The statistical analys is carried out by the Ministry of Education doesn’t hold up, within this rhetorical schema, to the way professo rs characterize their lived experiences. Instead of belying professorial corruption, professors argue that overtime hours are necessitated by a university administration that co ntinues to sink money into stude nt scholarships without hiring more professors, thus disrupti ng the student/teacher ra tio. In this view , the stagnation of teaching staff links back to the way the state foll ows the mandates of external funding agencies


59 that made freezing university hires a conditi on for aid since the 1990s (MENRS, vol. 1 2004: 28). Professors also suggest that what the admini strators discern as the failures of professors are actually part of the ongoing fa ilure of the “bad” state. Thus where administrators hint at former “bad” regimes when they claim that some professors are political appointees, professors see a continuity in which “irresponsible” management links multiple regimes. The low professional status of professors, regarding thei r own educational achieve ment, is linked to the actions of the state: A big part, from the pedagogic point of view, is matriculation, which is to say that the people, the teachers and researchers, are mi ssing. Why?.... Because of the policies of the 2nd Republic [Ratsiraka’s Socialist Republic] but also the policies of Ravalomanana nowwhich were not oriented towards the prepara tion of people, the teachers, and researchers— that is, their advancement—because the st ate and the donors didn’t take into account higher education. [taped professor interview A, May 5, 2005] For many, efforts to advance professors have come too late. While administrators talk about the utility of the LMD in terms of sending professors to the exterior to finish their studies, professors talk about their families. One philosophy professo r told me he had already been to France, why would he go back? He lived in Toamasina, his family was there; he was too old to simply hop on a plane to finish his doctora te degree somewhere in France. Professors tie the situation of higher education to the illinformed actions of a state desperate to concede to outside agencies. They as sert their own role as th e arbiters of what is “good” for Madagascar, and suggest that the state, without taking into ac count their voices, is misguided by the hand of international agencies. Professors thus echo the concerns of the College des Enseignants when they assert that “the de sign of a national policy of higher education and research cannot be conceived bu t by the Malagasy and for the Malagasy. Although foreign experiences may be beneficial, th e Nation cannot be satisfied with imitation or


60 the systemic application of standard models inspired by funding agencies” ( College des Enseignants , Les Nouvelles March 15, 2005: 9). The imitation of other countries emerges as just one mistake in a long line of actions by the “bad state,” a state which created the problems it now claims the LMD will solve. The College des Enseignants also undermines the authenticity of state actors, implying that their concession to don or demands exclude them from being the sort of “Malagasy” that should have a hand in reform . The rhetorical stance they take is one of inclusion for professors, and ex clusion for bureaucrats who are presumed to have given up some part of “being” Malagasy when they took up posit ions within the state structure – no matter how contingent their positions are. Professors cast themselves as the experts in this regard, sugges ting that th eir position (closer to the people who will be affected by state policies, further from the state) gives them a unique and privileged view of what is happe ning in the “real” Madagascar, unencumbered (supposedly) by the influences of powerful NGOs. Within this schema administrators cannot be “experts,” as their “expertise” is simply an echo of “outside” forces that are not concerned with the well-being of the Malagasy people. The regime of truth these actors mobilize echoes that of administrators, with historical and statistical analysis of past failures key to implementing the LMD in the “best” way. Yet these two regimes of truth are offset from one another, not quite fitting together in any fully unified way. The stat istics are different, the historical memory is different, and above all, the inte rpretation is different. A crude argument might suggest that the positioning of expertise by each of these populations is directly related to th eir desires to retain or gain status within the educat ional and state hierarchy. There is little present in these pages to dispute that claim. However, something else is occurring here as all these machinations for


61 creating expertise, which utilize universalizing and localizing narratives about power and access to it, occur simultaneous with other machinati ons, partially hidden within the rhetoric. The Fusion of Power While ethnoregional divides among administ rators occur laterally, undermining the hierarchy inherent in the profe ssor/administrator divide, ethnoreg ional divides that emerged in conversations with professors of ten exemplified hierarchical divi des, furthering the gulf already initiated by the twin idioms of the “bad state” and the “bad professor.” Thus the highland and ctier professors I interviewed and interacted with agreed that the state was to blame for the current condition of the university. Their main difference was how they chose to characterize the state, or what sorts of characteri stics they chose to infuse the st ate with. For highland professors, it was the global center-periphery divide that infused the “b ad” state, not ethnoregional inequality. In a sense their de-emphasization of ethnoregional difference echoed that of highland administrators and carried the pot ential to further instantiate these differences by labeling any reference too them as tribalist or “irrational.” Ctier professors, however, emphasized the uneven distribution of resources across the isla nd, situating ethnoregiona l difference squarely within bureaucratic fields of power. In this way, the “bad state” not only makes bad decisions that subject it to northern hegemony, but the bure aucratic offices it contains are assumed to always already be working in a way that undermin es ethnoregional equality. Merina dominance, in this view, is written into and sustained by the state. A few examples gleaned from conferences and meetings as well as indi vidual interviews illustrate this point. During interviews at the University of To amasina I was often given a statistic which ranked Toamasina as the “worst” school. When I pressed one professor a bout this, he said “Oh no – that’s not me – that’s the Minister – he said that.” While emanating from the Ministry of Education, this rank suggested, once again, the failu re of the state to ad equately provide for


62 education across all regions. While the Minister or others within the administration might utilize this statistic to denigrate professors and speak against the previous regi me, here it became an emblem of the problems of uneven distribution ac ross the island. There is a similarity between this stance and the stance of university admi nistrators struggling over the definition of rationality. Reclaiming the posi tion of “worst,” like highlight ing the irrationality of unequal educational distribution across regions, has the potential to bring more attention to these inequalities. Additionally, regiona l professors equated the state w ith ethnoregional privileging; an assumption and implicit understanding of the st ate as an entity privileging the center, both within and outside the bounds of the Malagasy nation-state. It was an assumption that was also present in meetings. One of the first meetings I attended in Mada gascar was an informational conference on the LMD held before the academic year 2005’s inaugural ceremony. The conference was held in one of the well-appointed ballrooms of the Hote l Piscine in Mahajunga, on the west coast of Madagascar. This was exactly the sort of info rmational session that the administrators and professors I would later interview suggested was lacking. Th e room was arranged with one long table lined with microphones facing a number of chairs set up fo r a panel discussion. The panel was made up of vice-presidents from multiple univ ersities, though the “head table” was not, this time, occupied by the President of the University of Antananarivo. Rather, he sat in the front row. Professors from various universities filled the room. Administrators, full professors mostly from humanities departments, were set up as spokesmen and women for the LMD addressing the crowd in a mixture of Malagasy and French. At one point a professor in the audience stood and asked about which laboratories and which departments stood to gain the most from this reform. Wouldn’t all the money be going to the Univer sity of Antananarivo? The president of


63 Antananarivo got up and took the microphone from one of the attendants, attempting to quell this concern. He turned to addre ss the crowd. The exchange became rather animated, with the president of the University of Antananarivo suggesting, according to my notes, that the University of Antananarivo was in fact the center of research, but that this reform would, after all, be for the good of all Malagasy. The fact that it was the president of the Un iversity of Antananarivo who spoke is not surprising given his privileged status in other me etings about the LMD. The conceptual linkage between the LMD and issues of center/periphery inequality that emerge in the concerns of professors belie a sense of mist rust. The panel of regional re presentatives notwithstanding, the quickness of the highland president’s interventi on and the professor’s assumptions about uneven benefits are evocative. It confirms, in a sense, the idea that the highland Malagasy “center” is in control, despite appearances to the contrary. Th is assumption follows from other, highly visible acts of “integration” such as the inclusion in ea ch regional university ad ministration of at least one Merina individual in the highe st two offices. It was a Merina administrator who urged me to notice this, pointing out how one university president continued to reside in the capital of Antananarivo despite her position at a university outside the capital. It would be equally true to say that each regional university had at least one administrato r who originated in the same province in which the university was located. The administrator who gestured towards the politics of administrative makeup gave his own unive rsity as an example, where he outranked, in degree, the ctier university president for wh om he worked. This status differential came to a head when the Merina administrator in questi on needed to wear his academic robes to the university year’s inaugural ceremonies. This wa s a situation in which he knew his robes would be a visible sign of the status differential between him and the university president. The Merina


64 administrator “forgot” his academic regalia at ho me, and the president of his regional university brought him another set. Thus the president wa s allowed to set the vi sible status of this administrator and de-emphasize their differentia l academic positions. It was this sort of performance that regional professors seemed to gesture towards when their descriptions of the state veered into equatio ns of the state and highland dominanc e, with high status bureaucratic positions implicated in the continuation of ethnoregional inequality. Professors, and particularly regional professo rs, discomfiture with this dynamic within university governance hearkens back to a historical trend in whic h highland Malagasy attained or were given high ranking positions in the governing administration as well as in schools. In large part this was due to the socio-economic and e ducational positioning of Merina families (RaisonJourde 2002a). As is still the case today, this high-status positioning was also related to contact with the exterior. There is an admixture he re in which perceptions of highland Malagasy domination merge with perceptions of north ern hegemony. My own living situation in Madagascar slipped me into this uncomfortabl e space. I was housed in a language lab run by a Betsimsiraka English professor. The situation was arranged by the Merina vice-president of the University of Toamasina and I was to prepare inte rested students at the la nguage lab for the Test of English as a Foreign Langauge (TOEFL). Du ring President Ratsiraka’s unsuccessful attempt to contest Ravelomanana’s election victory in the last election, a pe riod that has become collectively know as the “ crise ” or “crisis” of 2001, the English pr ofessor had participated in the road blockades that attempted to choke off th e capital in Antananarivo where Ravelomanana had begun to set up a new government. At the same tim e, the Merina administrator had fled to the United States under the University of Chicago’ s “Scholars at Risk” program. All plans for TOEFL instruction evaporated as soon as I ar rived. Whereas our email communication before


65 my arrival had been cordial, she began to resi st the idea of letting someone else, let alone someone associated with the university’s vice-presiden t, begin to teach there. Over the course of my stay, I realized that my relationship with her was a reflection of hers with him. In a unique and somewhat precar ious social position, the Eng lish instructor was resisting both sides of the nested hegemony I described above. She could not outright refuse an administrator request. Moreover, having been a vi sible supporter of Rats iraka during the “crisis” meant that allowing administrators to actually change the way she carried out her duties, or introduce new people into her affairs, would be one step towards being pushed out of her position. This threat would have been particul arly appreciable during the time period I was in Madagascar, when several people I knew, in cluding the husband of one of her employees, claimed their earlier political affiliation with Rats iraka led to their unemployment. And so, she went along with the administration’s demands, sometimes begrudgingly, sometimes corruptly. As one night watchman described it, she had “tak en” every object (televisions, computers, etc.) donated by foreign researchers who had stayed at the center at the behest of administrators, Merina or otherwise. This is an extreme case that could be interp reted as validation of the “bad” professor paradigm articulated by administrators. However, it is not included to i llustrate corruption or even resistance. What I want to pull from this story is the way that forms of power are perceived to merge. Whereas the earlier s ection dealt with fissures among pr ofessors, this one deals with fusion. Here the “bad” state and “northern” hegemony are not undermined by the emergence of ethnoregional associations, but constituted thro ugh them. Uneven development becomes an expectation as fields of power are viewed as inhabited and corrupted by privileged groups. The state, regardless of the ethnic ma ke-up of its agents, emerges as a continuing tool of Merina


66 hegemony. Non-Merina actors in bureaucratic pos itions are seen as politic al appointees that in the end continue to uphold established forms of inequality. All thos e researchers who pass through the guesthouse at the language lab are a part of one form of hegemony – that of the “global” north – while the elabor ate actions that surround the maki ng invisible of the politics and status involved in the robes academic s wear exemplify the other. In this way, the state is perceived to be an “ethnic” actor, privileging a “center” based in the highlands. Offices, despite the individuals in them, are pe rceived to work within this schema, working towards the continuation of cen ter-periphery inequaliti es both on and off the island. The “rationality” of the LM D only serves to further these di visions as professors see it as a way for the state to continue the centralization of expertise in both high land and foreign hands. Highlighting the ties between these two sorts of hegemony and the LMD is both advantageous and dangerous. It is advantage ous in that it opens up possibiliti es for the diffusion of decisionmaking authority and expertise among localized agents, such as regi onal professors. Yet at the same time it continues to tap into an already problematic assumption of difference. It thus holds the potential to further or ignite already exis ting conflicts and to offer the state further rationalizations for the continuati on of centralized cont rol over materially disadvantaged regions.


67 CHAPTER 3 CONCLUSIONS I have proposed a re-orientation of policy re search to look at moments of planning and debates about implementation rather than the impl ementation of policy itse lf. Situating studies in these moments allows anthr opologists to probe the ways ethnoregional differentiation and inequality are inscribed in policy well before policies touch the lives where this inequality will matter most. These moments constitute one link in the chain of events that structure inequality, and yet this link has been consistently ignored or passed untouched by anthropological scholars in domains investigating the state, educa tion, or development, who too often focus on implementation itself. Policy studies often leave the higher echelons of policy formation intact while teasing apart the local reverberations of policy decisions, or focus on policy creation at higher levels, leaving the loca l reverberations of policy unexamined. Taking the LicenceMaster-Doctorat (LMD) as its focus, this st udy has examined one of many moments when international educational policy is translated to local conditions, this particular investigation situated between the moment the state deci des to pursue a policy, and the moment other governing bodies begin to enact that policy. The adaptation and implementation of educationa l reform is primarily a site of struggle filled with potential. For up-and-coming bureaucrats whose positions, like those of administrators, are contingent and fraught with uncertainty, reform becomes a space from which to solidify one’s status and to at tach oneself to an upward mobili ty predicated on an ability to “see like a state” (Scott 1998). E xpertise is built in and through re form, as administrators craft themselves as those who “know” while simultane ously constructing an obj ect to be governed – in this case, the university and its professors. In this position, administrators de-emphasize the foreign influence on reform even while their plan ning sessions and rhetorical moves belie this


68 connection. While administrators harden shells of rationality around their contingent positions, they cast other actors, namely prof essors, as irrational – thus legi timizing the intervention itself. Yet this bureaucratic position-making, along with calls to “rationality” and the regimes of truth mobilized within these calls, obscure the other li ves of bureaucrats that ar e gestured towards in the works of Herzfeld (1997), Li (2005), and Chalfin (In Press). Professors, for their part, seek to establish th eir own claims to “expert” status and in the process create the state as an irrational fusi on of bureaucratic appara tus with ethnoregionally privileged groupings. These actors “reveal” the connections between state plans and international organizations, undermining the states claims that this reform is “rational” and “objectively good.” Through this they raise the sp ecter of inauthenticity, positing the state and its bureaucrats as imperfect and ill -advised copies of Western actors. It is through this fusion that northern hegemony and the “bad state” are linked, and this linkage opens up a powerful narrative space in which individual professors may lay claim to the power of reform wielded by bureaucratic agents. Through this narrative a ssociation, the state a nd the center are delegitimized, while the diffusion of power in the hands of localized and authentic professors becomes “rational” and thereby legitimate. The boundary work that goes into the creation of this positioning, the constructions of seemingly mutually exclusive grou pings and their “regimes of tr uth” obscures the currency of ethnoregional differentiation on the island. These are the sort of associations Herzfeld (1997) alludes to when he suggests that we see burea ucratic actors as someth ing beyond their place in the bureaucratic machinery. They are also the so rts of associations that disappear from the official rhetoric for and against the LMD even while the differences themselves are inscribed within this reform and its goals. These issues still exist despite offi cial pronouncements about


69 “one” Madagascar. Thus the administrations “ra tionalization” of the university system entails the concentration of university resources in the center of the island, at the already established research center at the University of Antanana rivo while regional unive rsities continuation of classical education is not seen to respond to the “real social needs” of the regions they serve. The universalizing language of the state becomes complicit in the rationalization of disparity across the island. Professors, contesting the LM D, mobilize visions of “nor thern hegemony” and a “bad state,” arguing that rank and f ile professors know better what the “real social needs” of Madagascar are. Through thes e pronouncements professors unde rmine the authenticity and thus the legitimacy of state bureaucrats. At th e same time they infuse state relations with ethnoregional meanings. The state, in this view, is never rational and distant. Rather, the state is self interested in ways that reflect ties to either northern hegemony or highland dominance, or some admixture of the two. To be a part of the state, in this view, always already entails an alignment with the state and its particularistic goal s – being a bureaucrat is perceived as a sort of infection with the power to erase previous interests. It is in this way that professors make a monolith out of the state as they suggest th at their own positions are less skewed towards particularistic interests. Mitchell (2002: 77) suggests that legal-rational language becomes a cover for the particularistic interests of bureaucr ats. This case seems to bear out that assertion. It adds the observation that “rationality” is picked up by multip le actors who seek to highlight and advocate for their own positions. My findings illustrate the ways that labels of rational and irrational can obscure ethnoregional differentiati on – where rationality (and rati onalization) becomes an excuse for the continuation of the status quo. At the sa me time, calls to rationa lity hold the potential to


70 even-out uneven spaces of deve lopment, education, et cetera . Thus administrators’ and professors’ claims to the irratio nality of uneven distribution carry the possibility to diffuse and thus equalize resource distribution. Thus far, that possibility has not reac hed fruition within the LMD reform. Presumably, it has been trumpe d by the continuing concentration of power hierarchically upward toward the administration, and laterally inward toward the highlands. Even so, this research highlighted one link in a chain whose end is undetermined. New reforms and new interpretations of the LMD reform may bring new opportunities for both equality and differentiation. Some of these reforms ar e already underway in Madagascar, touting responsiveness to “real social n eeds” and courting partnerships outside the state structure, and offering a useful starting point for a continuation of this analysis.


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77 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Michelle Lea Kiel was born in Alaska and gr ew up in Texas and Alabama. She attended Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, where she r eceived an interdisciplinary degree in African Studies and Anthropology. Mich elle plans to continue inve stigating higher education in Madagascar. Currently she resides in Fl orida with her husband and their two dogs.