Poststructuralist critiques of development following the Foucauldian archaeology of discourses have explored the historical evolution of the order of development and how this rationalised the hegemony of the West over the rest of the world. These studies, however, have told us little about the ways in which development is socially produced or organised at different levels and the multiple disjunctures that open up in its practice. This paper explores development as a system for ordering, representing and giving meaning - a system for the organisation of thought and action. Yet order implies disjuncture - between contradictory interests, power and powerlessness, politics and management, policy texts and practices etc. Policy and its projects and programmes are attempts to create a 'forced coherence' among disparate individuals and collectives each pursuing their own agendas. This article discusses the basic idea of an ethnography of aid practice, its epistemological and ethical implication and its relevance for geographical development research as a theory of and in practice.