IDEV January 14, 2014
Escobar’s readings (Chapter 1&2)
A post structural perspective: discourse matters (texts, images, ideas, the way that we
talk about things) because it constructs the way that we see the world, and the way we
act in the world.
Doesn’t just describe what happens in the world, but it also SHAPES the way that we
view the world and have perspectives. It constructs the way that we understand reality.
Frost quakes ▯did they exist before social media? People felt things, tweeted about it and
then the frost quake became a “thing” mini earthquake sensation. We used to not have a
word for it, feel it or talk about it. It became a “thing” because of the way we talk about
it, we’ve actually made up this term through tweeting about it.
Representations become dominant and therefore shape reality. It becomes a certainty in
the social imagination ▯talking about development brings it into existence which we all
seem to understand now as a practice. “Colonization of reality” ▯thoughts/ ideas
Discourses work through practices and what we do, to shape the world in certain ways
and not in others. This is where power comes into play.
Divisions of Sex with Having babies
Our society has divided people into either boy or girl, having accepted their only being
two genders. So much so that we ask this question before they even are living. Often the
#1 categorization we give to babies ▯ may purposefully go to know the gender.
We fit people into these categories no matter what, even when it may not be appropriate.
Debates about transgender bathrooms ▯people may not feel like they fit into the 2
gendered bathroom options. An Olympic runner was so fast that people questioned
whether she was a girl or boy, and if she was allowed to run as that gender. How do we
categorize them? Hormones? Organs? Shows that these divisions really aren’t that
Narratives are neither fiction nor opposed to facts. Doesn’t matter if something exists in
reality or not, it can both exist in reality and be talked about or not exist and still be talked
about in the same way.
Attention to power, knowledge production and what the narrative obscures and
Goal: to examine the establishment of development from the early post WW2 period to
the current. What have people said about it how has it been understood? And how has it
then been used in practice (deployed)
**** Trumans address in 1949 the classifications he develops are very important to how development is understood and
Development as an entity: the “discovery” of poverty ▯ arguing theres nothing natural or
factual about this concept of poverty, with measurements and comparisons globally.
Problem= insufficient income and that’s the only problem, therefore it was measure
through income and GDP. For people to be happy all they need is money.
Solution= Economic Growth. Because of how the problem is diagnosed it only results in
one solution ▯ gnored equality, sustainability etc because poverty was so narrowly
defined the solution was as well. Economic progress was the solution with communist
influence historically ▯ a lot of people in the first world were worried about the third world
mostly because of the effect it would have on their country and living standards and
needed science and technology to accomplish this.
Process: They needed accurate measures for the third world, see if things improved etc
and needed development professionals. It was no longer just a word/practice but it was
something you could study and be hired in (professional development of experts)
following a very Western form of knowledge.
Also involved the promise of science and technology as it was seen as neutral ▯separate
from culture etc and would always be beneficial when you apply it.
Justified public intervention ▯policies, land ownerships, crops etc.
Modernization, industrialization and urbanization.
Categorization of people ▯underdeveloped and developed. People were categorized into
ones that didn’t exist previously (example: landless peasants)