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POLC90H3 Lecture Notes - Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Postcolonialism

Political Science
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R Rice

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-I. Assumptions
-II. Prescriptions for Change
-III. Contributions & Criticisms
-IV. The Question of Alternatives
-Critical theory: oriented toward critiquing and changing society as a whole,
rather than just trying to explain and understand it.
- Characteristics shared by these theorists:
-1.Reflexive- recognizes that western society is only one possible form
of society. (other possibilities)
-2.Understand knowledge as possible-discourse is power over the
-3.Decentering- it is from the point of view of those who have been
-4.Transdisciplinary- cross over with literature, cultural
studies,women’s studies etc.
-5.Subversive.- challenge accepted wisdom.
-I. Assumptions
-Arturo Escobar (1995) “the making and unmaking of the third world”
-looks at Columbia
-Before outsiders came to Columbia, there was no such thing as poverty,
and no need for development.
-By imposing external norms, the country was interpreted as lacking devel-
-Poverty and development are inventions from the North imposed on the
-Post development theory suggest that development has helped to incorpo-
rate large areas of the globe into a northern dominated economic and politi-
cal system, which has destroyed indigenous cultures, threatened the envi-
ronment and created feelings of inferiority among people of the South.
- 1.Development is a tool of western hegemony: it imposes western thinking
and discourse about how the world should be. AKA neocolonialism
- 2.Development is the problem not the solution.
- People should be free to choose the way they want to live without
being made to feel inferior.
0. The discourse of development reflects prevailing power relations.
-Unequal relations of power allow some ideas of development to be
presented as correct, while others are dismissed.
4. Alternatives to development- i.e. Grassroots, sustainable develop. Alterna-
tive development approaches only serve to extend the life of the project of
development. (development: the devil we know)

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-II. Prescriptions for Change
-“think and act locally” focus on local views and actions.
-Real grassroots participation-that participation should mean something.
-Focus on what communities want, we can acknowledge what ordinary peo-
ple are actually doing, rather than what they should be doing.
-Decolonization of the mind-empty ourselves of our preconceived notions of
what development should be.
-III. Contributions & Criticisms
- Contributions
-Offers a damning critique of mainstream development / highlights the fail-
ures if development, lessons learned.
-Homogenize “developments” as if it is why Eurocentric modernization-style
-Criticizes current policies and theories without providing any alternatives
model of resistant rather than one of emancipating.
-It is not theoretically developed.
-Post development scholars refuse to recognize any development success
-Do not discuss the material improvements/ benefits of development.
-Romanticizes local traditions and poverty.
-IV. The Question of Alternatives
-Allow each society ti develop its own model for development based on its
own cultural values and perspectives. (however every society has different
values-so who do we include?)
-1. What are critical theories? How do they compare to the grande narratives
on development?
-2. What are the major assumptions of post development theory? Do you
agree with them?
-3. According to Matthews, what might an alternative to development look
-Fanin, Said-post colonialism
-Frantz Fanon (1925-1941)-psychology of colonialism
-Psychiatric medicine and philosophy
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