“Do not adjust your mind—there is a fault in reality”: Simulation games and development education

Annie McCarthy


From the late 1960s onwards simulation games were adopted by development education programs as an ethical and pedagogical tool to create awareness of the “true” nature of reality. This article explores both the limits and ongoing effects of simulation as a mode of structuring relationality and responsibility by looking at two moments in ethical history. The first is the vocal presence of youth at the Second World Food Congress in 1970; the second is a simulation game designed to encapsulate the mood of youth attending the conference, encapsulated by the slogan “do not adjust your mind—there is a fault in reality.” Using these moments to tether a broader discussion of simulation as a mode of ethical and pedagogical encounter, I argue for renewed anthropological attention to, and improvisation upon, educational tools that “multiply realities.”

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/728304