INTD 200 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Problematization, Slash-And-Burn

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Lecture 8: Post Development
12/16/12 9:22 AM
Post-Modernism: a philosophical reaction to modernism
Truth is not objective
Truth is socially constructed
Development as a Discourse
Influence of post modernism
Language and construction of social reality
Knowledge as socially constructed, not neutral
o Cultural
Time and space specific
Development as a discourse how we speak about it, represent development
and developing countries influences reality
Development as a “truth”
How we portray the people in these countries
Importance of texts, images, concepts in creating “development objects”
UNICEF commercials
Influence out ways of thinking ! creates issues as problems
Discourse and representation influence action…important for what they DO
(as scripts and ideologies for action)…
Discourse and Action
Colonial Discourse
The idea that colonial governments represented these people as
The needed help, legitimized the interventions
Constructed thoughts about reality
Development as a technical, planned endeavor
Politically neutral
Hegemonic Theory
Comes about when something is taken for granted and assumed to
be a truth
Emerges when powerful actors don’t have to rely on force to accept
their vision for what is good
Ex. Education is good
Development has become hegemonic
o Aspiration for modernity
James Ferguson: The Anti-Politics Machine
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Development representations of Lesotho
o Described Lesotho as an untouched country, that was an
isolated peasant society
o They did not look at the trade relation with South Africa
o This representation sets up a certain type of intervention
Development as technical project (neutral science, not political),
need for outside interventions
o Introduce new cash crops
o Move subsistence farmers into cash croppers
o Develop roads ! markets
o Assumption that they would want to be “modernized”
Projects created in line with technical skills of development
Project considered a failure ! they ignored the history of migrant
Resulted in the expansion of state authority and state power
o Where this project was implemented there was a lot of anti-
This was not a neutral project, perceived development as a
technical project, not a social project
State was represented as neutral ! but whose interest does the
state serve?
Post-Modernist Analysis
Swidden Cultivation: Laos—crisis and poverty narratives
Swidden Cultivation: slash and burn, extensive agricultural system where
farmers cut the trees, burn the trees and let the biomass sink into the soil
and fertilize the soil
No pesticides
Move around a lot
Extensive – requires a lot of land
Hard to define the difference between a forest and a farm
These farmers are represented as poor
Swidden Agriculture is recognized as making these people poor
This land is legally not theirs, and is legally treated as a forest
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