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Lecture 3

contemporary anthropology week 3.docx

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Saul Cohen

4/3/2013 10:40:00 AM ***factual info in textbook etc are there to support arguments you are making*** A. The Thaba-Tseka Development Project Lesotho- small landlocked country in Southern Africa Population of about 2 millon Received development assistance from 26 different contries 72 international non government organizatiosn (including CIDA) this is an example of ―FAILED‖ development 1975 World Bank issues a report on Lesotho to justify a series of loans to the country The World Bank Report puts a specific image of Lesotho in our midns even though we havnt ever been there. Its not a positive image. Ferguson juxtaposes this with an article in the oxford history of south Africa—which paints a diff picture According to world bank, Lesotho was ―virtually untouched by modern economic development….was and still is a traditional subsistence peasant society‖ Contrast that with the oxford history which shows agricultural entrepeuners, abundance of grain, etc. how do we explain the complete disconnect with the world bank who hires the best brighterst researchers, yet what they said is completely contradictory to the oxford history of south Africa The Meaning of “Lesotho” poverty is naturalized in the world bank, the reason for the poverty is given a natural cause (population growth) it is not given a political/social/historical explanation. These people have no history in this particular narrative of Lesotho compare this to the narrative that shows the deep involvement in a political community. More nuanced Ideas of Progress Progress just seems to have an inevitably positive connotation. If we talk about progress, we are going to have a starting point and a point way further rom that On one hand there is the primitive label (people who have not progressed along the path of progress as much as other people have) and on the other side is the civilized label (thus one of the ways people classify ppl as same/different, by demarcating people along the line of progress) We can see how ensconced in our language this ranking is. E.g civilized, uncivilized, traditional, modern etc. Idea of progress implies a certain difference amongs ppl right away So poor and hungry I certainly was. But underdeveloped? I never thought- nor did anyone else= that being poor meant being ‗underdeveloped‘ and lacking human dignity (Shrestha, 1995) Maybe the meaning of progress is different depending on where you come from, your race, gender, etc The label of being underdeveloped meant something very different than what we think it is. For Shrestha, it meant lacking human dignity There is a flip side to this. This is key/important. People who see progress as this march to good stuff, but that progress reprensents something negative. You see this in the language of people close to nature. People who were close to nature were seen as superstitious savages, tied to nature in very problematic ways. Whereas the other Western folks could control nature, and the measure of how far you have progressed was based on the distance between you and nature. Around the 1980s, complete reversion of this. Ppl who were close to nature become romanticized, wise, etc. better. Progress then is seen as bad, negative, pollution,etc. tHe progress taking form in the reification of indigenous ppl--- still ignoring all the political stuff that was present in history, but instead focusing on environmental knowledge etc. Vandana Shiva vs Jeffrey Sachs Jeffrey Sachs: A few generations ago, almost everybody was poor…the industrial Revolution led to new riches, but much of the world was left far behind… (this sounds like almost an exact replica of the narrative that was used in the world bank report. This idea of progress occurring by some while other people were just left behind in traditional peasant scenarios) Here we see that the narrative of progress has a particular framework/structure that carries from time to time. It is an entrenched idea/creating sameness and different, naturalizing inequality that is entrenched in how we understand and view the world He is arguing that throught the world we have countries that are totally poor, and he believes that there is a capitalist ladder, each rung represents another stage of capitalism and once you get on the ladder, progress is inevitable, but he says some ppl are so far removed they cant even reach the first rung, so hes all lets give them funding etc so they can start the slow steady climb up the path of progress. Vandana Shiva responds: ―This is a totally false history of poverty. The poor are not those who have been ―left behind‖; they are the ones who have been robbed! The wealth accumulated by Europe and North wealth accumulated by Europe and North America are largely based on riches taken from Asia, Africa and Latin America. ―Without the destruction of India‘s rich textile industry, without the takeover of the spice trade, without the genocide of the native American tribes, without African slavery, the industrial revolution would not have resulted in new riches for Europe or north America. It was this violent takeover of third world resources and markets that created wealth in the north and poverty in the South.‖ Progress therefore means that some progress and others are exploited in the way progress is defined within popular western discourse There is an ongoing narrative of progress that is engrained in our way of thinking about the world. It is problematic. Reinforces inequality/sameness & difference etc. Development is predicated upon a notion of pr
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