Using recently-collected ethnographic life history data, this paper analyses in historical context the shifting boundary between governmental and nongovernmental ‘worlds’ in Bangladesh. First, the paper explores the ways in which this boundary is an ambiguous one, and aims to show how it is constructed and maintained, through an analysis of new types of ‘boundary-crossing’ professionals who cross between the two sectors in the course of their career trajectories and their social relationships. Second, it suggests that such movements across this boundary throws light on changing professional identities in Bangladesh, such as what it means to work as a public servant or a development worker. Highachieving university graduates are now less likely to choose civil service careers than they once were, because new opportunities exist for them to work more flexibly as ‘non-governmental professionals’ in roles that may allow them to combine professional, consultant and activist identities
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