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4. ANT204H1 January 30.docx

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Saul Cohen

ANT204 January 30, 2013 Today’s Lecture Outline: A. Last Class: Why did they get it so wrong? The Thaba-Tseka Development Project B. Five key ideas about progress and development Surely Nature is “Natural” C. Class activity: my houseplant D. Video: Second Nature Two conflicting narratives: The World Bank report  “untouched by modern economic development”, traditional but rapid growth, declining agricultural yields  Problematic: paints the picture of undeveloped people The Oxford History of South Africa  White farmers flocked to them to buy grain – Sotho exported 100, 000 grains So, Why did they get it so wrong? The Thaba-Tseka Development Project 1. Notion that they had to ignore what they couldn’t actually change: - Wage labour NOT agriculture is dominant - Not “resource poor” (natural and ahistorical) country but “resource exploited” (politics and history)  there are political and historical reasons why people are poor – it is NOT natural. - Wage labour exploitation in South African mines – not poor because of overpopulation but because the only wage labour in mines is in neighbouring south Africa – and parts where black labour was exploited – all the people who are relying on labour were exploited - Perhaps if they cared, international countries could just protest for better wage labour – but they can’t because of politics and because that kind of intervention does not enter into “development discourse” the way that people talk about these problems and the solutions that they propose.  Ferguson, for this reason Lesotho is portrayed as a nation of framers not wage labourers – at the same time – dealing with unemployment, political subjugation by south Africa, bureaucratic elites simply disappear  they cannot do anything about this. 2. Ignore what they cannot understand - Complex, differentiated state and people – there are divisions among every class of people, so many layers that are important if intervention is to be discussed - Internal political party politics – the idea that someone has the ability to develop puts you in a position of power, key idea – in this case a particular case the ruling party has the means to provide health care, outreach, etc. – the opposing party does not – idea that someone can do development is inherently political – cannot NOT be political – it is always a political intervention – wants to reach its power into regions it didn’t have access to before – a health care officer in a region can be used for a lot of different things/ jobs. - Development = a political tool, some benefit and some do not 3. Blame the victim - Doesn’t matter what year your talking about there is an underlying consistency to the way in which development works and an underlying consistency in failure when people try to conduct conflicting narratives on what the problems are - So why does the narrative of development continue? One of the reasons is blame the victim mentality - Development failure seen as not being development’s fault: when experiment fails they don’t say maybe there’s something wrong with our narrative – they blame the villagers - E.g. Cattle mystique – wanted the Basutu to give up their obsession to the cattle – why did they care about it when it isn’t doing you any good, they would say we’ll tell you how to manage your cattle properly – changing their attitude toward cattle and they said no thank you – the men said we want to keep our cattle – the anthropologists interpreted this as primitive - But the reason why the wanted to keep the cattle makes perfect sense in their
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