National Council for Eurasian and East European Research (January 2009)
Whereas US agencies tend to prioritize quantitative metrics of success in their advocacy of civil society and democracy building, Brown’s research as an anthropologist sets out to illustrate the value of fingerspitzengefuhl – a more intimate and immediate "fingertip" sense of the process of democracy promotion – and to contribute to a broader understanding of the relationship between specific inputs, particular contexts, and the future trajectory of democratic governance in the Western Balkans. It also provides a forum for Macedonian civil society actors to reflect on their own work and offer their perspectives on international intervention.
In “Do We Know How Yet?”, Brown gives a nod to the 1973 book, We Don’t Know How, which challenged alleged successes in US foreign aid. As an alternative to current practice, Brown suggests that “taking the time to recognize the underexamined politics of evaluation, the overlooked perspectives of insiders, and the misunderstood keywords of local life, might put us on the path to knowing more.”