Limbo in development projects

Lars Bo Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article uses Actor-Network Theory to investigate how a One Laptop per Child project went through periods of impasse and crisis, what happened during these periods, and how the project managed to continue. The analysis shows that the standstills occurred when the understandings or “translations” behind the project started to unravel and, similarly, that the project was revitalised by participants experimenting with new translations. The article develops a sensitising concept called limbo intended to guide others confronted with similar situations. The concept has three traits: standstills are circumstantial, they entail ambiguity, and they are sources of project transformation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDevelopment in Practice
Pages (from-to)936-946
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2019


  • Aid - Development policies
  • Methods
  • Social sector - Education
  • Technology - ICT

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