Start Geo Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
geology dictionary - geography encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   




  Development is one of the most complex words in the English language. In his book Keywords, Raymond Williams (1976, pp. 104-6) notes that the historically complex genealogy of development in western thinking can \'limit and confuse virtually any generalising description of the current world order\': rather it is in the analysis of the \'real practices subsumed by development that more specific recognitions are necessary and possible\'. The history of these real practices is, however, long and their meanings unstable and labile. Development came into the English language in the eighteenth century with its root sense of unfolding and was granted a new lease of life by the evolutionary ideas of the nineteenth century (Parajuli, 1991; Watts, 1995; cf. Darwinism; Lamarckism). As a consequence, development has rarely broken from organicist notions of growth or from a close affinity with teleological views of history, science and progress in the West. By the end of the nineteenth century, for example, it was possible to talk of societies in a state of \'frozen development\'. There is another aspect to the genealogy, however, traced by Cowen and Shenton (1996) to eighteenth-and nineteenth-century notions of Progress, and specifically to development as a sort of theological discourse set against the disorder and disjunctures of capitalist growth. Classical political economy — including the work of Smith, Ricardo, Malthus (cf. neo-classical economics; neo-Ricardian economics; Malthusian model) — is suffused with the tensions between the desire for unfettered accumulation on the one hand and unregulated desire as the origin of misery and vice on the other (Herbert, 1990). Development in Victorian England emerged in part, then, as a cultural and theological response to Progress. Christopher Lasch (1990), for example, has described a late nineteenth-century obsessed by cultural instability and cataclysm. Saint-Simon himself devoted himself in his last years to a new creed of Christianity to accompany his industrial and scientific vision of capitalist progress. Accordingly, trusteeship, mission and faith were, according to Cowen and Shenton (1996), the nineteenth-century touchstones of development.

There is a body of development theory of much more recent provenance, dominated by the profession of economics, however, which began to emerge between the two world wars. This is a complex story to tell since this theory is not simply an invention of western economics or political economy, but has been shaped and profoundly contributed to by various Third World intellectual traditions (for example Maoism from China, dependency theory from Latin America, Tier Mondism from Africa and so on). To simplify an enormously complex field, one can identify four broad conventional streams of development theory:

{img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } one is broadly Keynesian or neo-Keynesian (see growth theory); {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } one draws upon neo-classical economics (see neo-liberalism); {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } one is Marxist (including dependency theory, modes of production, world systems analysis: cf. Marxian economics); and {img src=show_image.php?name=2022.gif } one is institutional (for example transaction cost approaches).Each of these four has complex genealogies and histories which privilege the state, the market and civil society in different ways; each is in addition shaped historically by the conditions to which they are made to speak (Peet and Watts, 1995). The broad outlines of these \'conventional\' development theories have been reviewed in a number of texts (see Preston, 1996; Cypher and Dietz, 1997).

There is a sense in which Third World development — in its specific forms of state and multilateral policy harnessed to the tasks of championing economic growth, \'catching up\', improving welfare and producing governable subjects — is of more recent provenance. It has been argued that development was invented or discovered by President Truman in his famous 1949 speech on \'fair dealing\' and undeveloped areas (Sachs, 1992). The key conjuncture is the decade after the end of the Second World War (Escobar, 1995), in spite of the fact that the Third World was seemingly of marginal concern in relation to the reconstruction of Europe, the revivification of the world financial system and the threat of communism. These origins of development theory and practice as an academic and governmental enterprise — and of development economics as its hegemonic expression — are inseparable from the process by which the \'colonial world\' was reconfigured into a \'developing world\' beginning in the 1930s but especially in the aftermath of the Second World War (see colonialism): Africa, for example, became a serious object of planned development after the Great Depression of the 1930s. The British Colonial Development and Welfare Act (1940) and the French Investment Fund for Economic and Social Development (1946) both represented responses to the crises and challenges which imperial powers confronted in Africa, providing a means by which they could negotiate the perils of independence movements on the one hand and a perpetuation of the colonial mission on the other. But the process by which this produces \'development as a historically singular process\' (Escobar, 1995, p. 9) requires a sensitivity to regions, political economy and politics. The significance of this misreading resides not only in the production of poor (and impoverished) history but also in its failure to realize a much more complex and nuanced way in which global discourse and local power, and local discourse and global power, intersect and reproduce particular regional formations. Development was necessarily Eurocentric because its origins lay in the European efforts to deal with the essential fact of capitalism as Schumpeter put it, the tragedy of underdevelopment and the paradoxical unity of modernity (Berman, 1982). In the same way that Polanyi (1944) saw the later eighteenth-century welfare debates in England as the discovery of the \'social\', so the invention of development in nineteenth-century Britain was about the \'failure\' of free market capitalism. Within the belly of Modernization has always resided its utopian alternatives.

In his important book Encountering development (1995), Arturo Escobar begins from the premise of development as a particular sort of social imaginary. Development, in his view, \'relies on setting up the world as a picture, so that the whole system can be grasped in some orderly fashion as forming a structure or system\' (p. 56) [emphasis added]. His book purports to show how this picture was painted, what acts of imagination were entailed in its depiction, and how this image came to be held as a sort of blueprint for a panoply of institutions, a diverse community of planners, politicians and bureaucrats, and for a battery of technologies harnessed for social engineering on a global scale. In short, Escobar portrays how the hegemonic vision of post-war development was institutionalized and with what consequences. Escobar necessarily starts with the fundamental position occupied by economics in the knowledge and practice of development, but posits the economy as an institution composed of production, power and signification. The economic sphere in this rendering is as much cultural as material, and hence as much about the production of social order, truth and forms of subjectivity as child mortality, GNP and high-yielding varieties of rice and wheat (cf. green revolution).

Escobar finds modern development discourse to be the latest insidious chapter of the larger history of the expansion of western reason. In his diagnosis, development was an invention — more properly a \'historically produced discourse\' (p. 6) — of the post-1945 era. This discourse is governed by the same principles as colonial discourse but has its own regimes of truth and forms of representation (pp. 9-10). Development is about forms of knowledge, the power that regulates its practices, and the forms of subjectivity fostered by its impulses. Hegemonic development discourse appropriates societal practices and meanings into the modern realm of explicit calculation, thereby subjecting them to western forms of power-knowledge. It ensures the conformity of peoples to First World economic and cultural practices. Development has in short penetrated, integrated, managed and controlled large parts of the globe in increasingly pernicious and intractable ways. It has produced underdevelopment, a condition politically and economically manageable through normalization, the regulation of knowledges, and the moralization and technification of poverty and exploitation as political and material problems. The new space of the Third World, carved out of the vast surface of global societies, is a new field of power dominated by development sciences replete with their own truth claims and constructed subjectivity. The political technologies of development practice which sought to erase underdevelopment from the face of the earth have, to employ Escobar\'s language, converted a \'dream into a nightmare\' (p. 4).

In keeping with a number of other southern activists and hybrid intellectuals — perhaps most notably those associated with the Delhi Center for Developing Societies, including Rajni Kothari, Ashish Nandy and Shiv Vishvanathan — Escobar sees poverty as invented and globalized with the creation of a battery of transnational \'welfare\' institutions at Bretton Woods and in San Francisco following the signing of the United Nations charter. The discourse of national and international planning and development agencies was able to constitute a reality by the way it was able to form systematically the objects of which it spoke, to group and arrange them in certain ways, and to give them a unity. patriarchy, ethnocentrism, gender, race and nationality were embraced in this discourse, at the same time that economists were privileged within its ranks. This rule-governed system has remained unchanged at the level of practice, although the discursive formations have been unstable. In all of this modernity\'s objectifying regime of visuality turned people of the South into spectacles, and the panoptic gaze of development became an apparatus of social control. Institutions such as the World Bank thus embody what Donna Haraway (1991) calls the \'God trick\' of seeing everything from nowhere. Development is constructed in large part through keywords — \'toxic words\' — which really mean something else: \'planning\' normalizes people; resources desacralize nature; poverty is an invention; science is violence; basic needs are cyborgs, and so forth (see Sachs, 1992). In all of this the Third World came to believe what the First World promulgated: development as a technical project, as rational decision-making, as specialized knowledge, and as normalization (see governmentality).

There is a complex and differentiated body of work gradually emerging since the 1970s which represents an effort to imagine alternatives, which sees development as a seriously flawed, many would say a disastrously failed, modernist project (Pieterse, 1996). The intellectual and theoretical origins of this critique of what one might call conventional or mainstream development theory and practice — of both neo-classical economics, the new institutionalism and Marxist political economy — is complex, but sheds much light on both the imaginative geography of development, and its imaginary alternatives. In general it needs to be said that the entire field of post-development stands uneasily with respect to modernity — in some cases as a reactionary anti-modernism, in some cases as anti-modernist cultural relativism, in others as a celebration of \'critical traditionalism\' (the language is Ashish Nandy\'s (1988)). But it is also curious that this flowering of imaginative geographies attached to anti-modernist sentiment — of thinking about alternatives, of alterity and of otherness — occur precisely at the apogee of two variants of what might be called ultra-or hyper modernism. One is the forging of the so-called Washington consensus: the triumphalism of the neo-classical counter-revolution (see neo-liberalism; structural adjustment), the very idea in the wake of 1989 that — to employ the language of the World Bank — there are no alternatives to capitalism and free markets. The other is the Euro-American vision of modernity — the object of the post-development community\'s wrath — which is, in some quarters, seen to be unstable, differentiated and internally reconstituting itself. Ulrick Beck\'s (1994) notion of \'reflexive modernization\' (of new and variegated modernities driven by industrial capitalism\'s ability to undercut itself, to generate life-threatening risks; cf. risk society) and Anthony Giddens\'s (1994) post-traditionalism and post-scarcity (globalized forms of decentred autonomy, emotional democracy and debureaucratization) posits another sort of post-development at the capitalist core. In both of these \'alternatives\' within the West, some of the attributes which so enrage the likes of Kothari, Alvares or Escobar — developmental linearity, faith in progress, functional autonomization, instrumental rationality and mass politics — are themselves seen to be under threat by the very dynamism and achievements of modernization itself.

What then is the particular genealogy of post-development thinking?

The crisis of needs in the 1970s: one thread surfaces from the 1970s\' disillusion with the world economic order and with the fact that the poorest 40 per cent had somehow missed the boat. It is from this pessimism, disenchantment with growth and trickle down that the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation called for \'Another Development\' geared to need satisfaction, self-reliance, and endogeneity (cf. growth pole). Bjorne Hettne\'s important book Three worlds of development (1990) is the pivotal text in the reaction to failed modernization, and offers a rejection of the \'Eurocentric model\' and a plea for egalitarian, participatory ecological, self-reliant and ethno-development strategies.

The \'impasse\' of Marxian political economy: another thread emerges from the debates within Marxism, and the sense, articulated in Booth (1994), that Marxian political economy had entered an epistemological, practical, and theoretical cul-de-sac. In order to jettison its economism, reductionism, totalizing history, and class determinism — as it were the worst of the Althusserian revolution — political economy had to encompass diversity, agency, local initiatives, and heterogeneity. Much of this work turns to networks, local institutions, and community institutions — that is to say to the subaltern communities and knowledges invoked by Escobar — as a way of rethinking rural development.

Post-colonialism and the ur history of development: development theory was driven in radically new directions by the post-structural turn, and specifically by the twin themes of post-coloniality and discourse. In the latter, the ur history of the doctrines of development are excavated, and development texts examined as particular forms of text and storytelling (Roe, 1991; Shenton and Cowen, 1996). In the latter, post-colonialism signals the proliferation of histories, temporalities and spatialities and, to quote Stuart Hall (1996, p. 248), \'the intrusion of difference and specificity into the generalising and Eurocentric post-Enlightenment grand narratives …. [to emphasize] the multiplicity of lateral and decentred cultural connections, movements and migrations which make up the world today\' (1996, p. 248; cf. Grand Theory).

Rediscovering civil society and the new social movements: however subject to hyperbole and exaggeration, the gradual \'democratization\' of the post-socialist bloc and the bureaucratic authoritarian states of the South unquestionably provided a new breathing space for civil society — what Cohen and Arato (1992, p. 29) call the \'resurrection, re-emergence and rebirth of civil society\'. Indeed, the contraction of the state under (imposed) economic austerity, created opportunities for all manner of Non-Governmental Organizations, social movements, and associational networks to flourish as never before. It is this renewed concern with civil society — with communities, popular movements, and social networks — which represents in some quarters the prospect of a new way of doing politics, and the possibility of alternative (grassroots, participatory, subaltern) visions of development outside of the horizon of both state and market (cf. new social movements).

Indigenous knowledge and global threats: ecological concerns pushed the anti-development agenda in two senses. First, the environmental toll of rapid industrialization in the NICs and within the socialist bloc, coupled with potentially catastrophic forms of global degradation (ozone depletion, global warming), fuelled new concerns over the sustainability of mainstream development. And second, the growing theoretical interest within political ecology over local resource management and the repositories of local knowledge (for example forms of \'peasant science\' as alternatives to \'western expertise\' documented by Paul Richards (1985) in Indigenous agricultural revolution), reaffirmed the salience of subaltern knowledge and indigenous local practice — typically embodied in the proliferation of all manner of southern green movements — as a counterweight to big science and multilateral greening of the World Bank sort (Routledge, 1994).

Globalization and its malcontents: finally, the rapidity with which the neo-liberal orthodoxy was adopted — through a mixture of coercion and consent — throughout the Second and Third Worlds (keywords which themselves became increasingly inadequate as ways of classifying geographic space), inevitably triggered a counter-reaction against the disruptive social, economic and political consequences of \'globalization\' (the dominance of market forces, the integration of the global economy, the genesis of world-wide consumerism and media integration, and the transformation of production and labour markets). To take one example, the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD: one of the UN agencies no less), refers to the \'states of disarray\' produced by the \'painful adjustment\' of market integration and globalization (UNRISD, 1996).

The post-development paradigm can be understood in part, then, as a reaction to and a product of a particular congeries of theoretical development (knowledge production) and political economic transformations. The évenements of 1989, the unprecedented dislocative effects of globalization and market integration, a deepening sense of global ecological crisis, the flowering of civil society and social movements intersected with what one might call with some hesitancy the post-structural turn in its panoply of guises. There is of course a polyphony of voices within this post-development community — Vandana Shiva, Wolfgang Sachs, Arturo Escobar, Gustavo Esteva and Ashish Nandy, for example, occupy quite different intellectual and political locations. But it is striking how intellectuals, activists, practitioners and academics within this diverse community participated in a global debate. The journal Alternatives is in some sense its institutionalized mouth-piece, and some sites (in India and Mexico for example) have emerged as its intellectual flagships (the Delhi Center has even been referred to as the new Frankfurt School; see Dallmayr, 1996).

What then can be said about the turn to discourse and the deployment of post-structural tools in the critique of development as capitalist modernity? On the one hand it is important to examine the ur history of development and to take seriously the ways in which what passes as development knowledge and practice are institutionalized and with what effects. The language of development is not neutral and neither are its institutions. To deconstruct sustainable development — to interrogate the assumptions of particular institutionalized visions of green development — is useful on many counts (cf. deconstruction). To see how and with what consequences \'ecological economics\' has been employed by the Global Environmental Facility might shed much light on the sorts of projects funded by the World Bank and the consequences of specific types of large multilateral programmes. Conducting ethnographies of development institutions, as Ferguson effectively does in his account of a project in Botswana (1990), is singularly helpful in understanding how particular places and problems are constructed and legitimated by experts and managers. But a singular focus on the discursive aspects of knowledge/power, on populist senses of empowerment and resistance, and on cultural diversity and difference carries its own freight.

Some of these new critical approaches to development ironically have similarities with earlier forms of radical development thinking, notably 1960s\' dependency theory, a perspective largely discredited on the grounds of its simplistic theory of power and crude sense of political economy. Like the Latin American dependentistas, it confers enormous power on an external world system, privileges local autonomy and cultural identity, and sees sovereignty as a central plank of its own vision of development (Cardoso and Faletto, 1979). Like dependency theory, the nature of external power is often crudely articulated in bold outline — which in Escobar\'s case is ironic insofar as he employs Foucault to express an alternative theory of capillary power. Escobar\'s account of the World Bank as an instrument of modernity\'s power, for example, reads like Third World nationalism of old. No attempt is made to lay out the complex internal divisions within the Bank or the important reversals made by the Bank around some environmental and dam projects (Fox, 1995), or (on the basis of data he himself provides) the relative insignificance of World Bank resources in relation to other capital flows to the South. Indeed, the antidevelopment communities\' focus on keywords and the representation of the Third World could be pulled from a cursory reading of Che Guevara\'s meditation on the condition of underdevelopment (the Third World as a \'stunted child\') penned at least thirty years ago.

It is surely incontestable that knowledge can be a source of power but the danger of a turn to discourse is that development ideas simply become (and remain) narratives or stories. Development narratives remain, in other words, only narratives. In Roe\'s (1991) work, for example, development problems are converted into stories or folk tales. Stories underwrite or stabilize the assumptions of policy makers. What is required in narrative policy analysis is, then, good, better or different stories. Development as narrative or story telling (see Watts, 1995 for a review of this literature) runs the risk of excluding politics, interest, institutionalized authority and legitimacy and putting in their place a naive sense of sitting around the campfire telling each other stories. (MW)

References Alvarez, C. 1992: Science, Development and Violence. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Beck, U. 1994: The reinvention of politics. In U. Beck, A. Giddens and S. Lash, Reflexive modernization. Cambridge: Polity, 1-55. Berman, M. 1982: All that is solid melts into air: the experience of modernity. New York: Penguin. Booth, D., ed., 1994: Rethinking social development. London: Methuen. Cardoso, H. and Faletto, E. 1979: Dependency and development in Latin America. Berkeley: University of California Press. Cohen, J. and Arato, A. 1992: Civil society and political theory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Cowen, M. and Sherton, R. 1996: Doctrine of development. London: Routledge. Cypher, J. and Dietz, J. 1997: The process of economic development. London: Routledge. Dallmayr, F. 1996: Global development? Alternatives 21: 259-82. Escobar, Arturo. 1995: Encountering development. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Esteva, G. l992: Development. In Wolfgang Sachs, ed., The development dictionary: a guide to knowledge as power. London: Zed Books, 6-25. Ferguson, J. 1990: The antipolitics machine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Fox, J. 1995: Governance and development in Mexico, Journal of Development Studies 34: 610-44. Giddens, A. 1994: Living in a post traditional society. In U. Beck, A. Giddens and S. Lash, Reflexive modernization. Cambridge: Polity, 56-109. Hall, S. 1996: When was the post-colonial? In I. Chambers and L. Curti, eds, The post-colonial question. London: Routledge, 242-60. Harkwag, D. 1991: Simians, cyborgs and women. London: Routledge. Herbert, C. 1990: Culture and anomie. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Hettne, B. 1985: Three worlds of development. London: Methuen. Hettne, B. 1990: Three worlds of development. London: Methuen. Kothari, R. 1989: Rethinking development. New York: Horizons. Lasch, C. 1991: The true and only heaven. London: Norton. Nandy, A. 1987: Cultural frames for social transformation. Alternatives 12 (1): 101-23. Nandy, A. 1998: Culture, state and the rediscovery of Irdion politics. Interculture 21: 2-17. Parajuli, P. 1991: Power and knowledge in development discourse. International Social Science Journal 127: 173-90. Peet, R. and Watts, M. 1995: Introduction. In R. Peet and M. Watts, eds, Liberation ecologies. London: Routledge. Pieterse, J. 1996: My paradigm or yours? The Hague: Working Paper #229, Institute of Social Studies. Polanyi, K. 1944: The great transformation. Boston: Beacon. Preston, D. 1996: Development theory. Oxford: Blackwell. Richards, P. 1985: African agricultural revolution. London: Methuen. Roe, E. 1991: Development narratives. World Development 19: 287-300. Routledge, P. 1994: Resisting and shaping the modern. London: Routledge. Sachs, W. (ed.) 1992: The development dictionary. London: 2ed. Shiva, V. 1993: The greening of the global reach. In W. Sachs, ed., Global ecology: a new arena of political conflict. London: Zed Books. Shiva, V. 1989: Staying alive. London: Zed Books. UNRISD, 1995: States of disarray. Geneva: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. Watts, M. 1995: A new deal for the emotions. In J. Crush, ed., The power of development. London: Routledge, 44-62. Willams, R. 1976: Keywords. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Suggested Reading Crush, J., ed., 1995: The power of development. London: Routledge. Rahnema, M. and Bawtree, V., eds, 1997: The post-development reader. London: Zed Press.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>


Other Terms : nation-state | transformation of variables | rhetoric
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us