Lecture # 2 What is Development I?
Tip for the day: re-read your notes from the previous lecture before coming
to class, and quickly browse over your readings to refresh your memory and
see if there is any aspect of the readings that you have had difficulty with.
To Finish from last week:
I will give you 4 tools I give to all my classes
And these tools should be in your notes and ought to inaugurate a section in
your notes called concepts and definitions:
1. the dominant ideology: A set of interrelated beliefs that tell us how
the world works and how it ought to work, hence it is descriptive and
prescriptive, it describes and prescribes. These taken for granted
notions come to appear natural to us, but there is nothing natural about
them. The dominant ideology reinscribes and reinforces the status
quo and resists change.
2. objectivity : there is nothing objective about objectivity, both the
notion of objectivity and the notion of the dominant ideology go hand
in hand. When something appears objective, it is because it is not
overtly advancing its perspective. When it overtly names its
perspective, it gives us the opportunity to think with it or against it.
3. Difficult knowledge: difficult knowledge is knowledge that often
challenges the dominant ideology that is either difficult for us to
accept, so we reject it and its source [because it deeply challenges
some of our long held beliefs] or we embrace it wholeheartedly
without subjecting that knowledge to a critical evaluation. When you
are in the grips of difficult knowledge it is important to ask
yourselves: what is it about this information that is causing me to
reject it so vehemently/ or what is it about this information that I find
4. Problematization is a critical and pedagogical dialogue or process
and may be considered a process of demystification. Rather than
taking the common knowledge (myth) of a situation for granted,
1 problematization poses that knowledge as a problem, allowing new
viewpoints, consciousness, reflection, hope, and action to emerge.
What may make problematization different from other forms of
criticism is its target, the context and details, rather than the pro or con
of an argument. More importantly, this criticism does not take place
within the original context or argument, but draws back from it, re-
evaluates it, leading to action which changes the situation. To
problematize a statement, for example, one asks simple questions:
-- Who is making this statement?
-- Who is s/he making it for?
-- Why is this statement being made here, now?
-- Whom does this statement benefit?
-- Whom does it harm?
Today is the first lecture on the theme “What is Development?”
objectivity : there is nothing objective about objectivity, both the notion of
objectivity and the notion of the dominant ideology go hand in hand.
If I could wish for anything in this course I would wish that you talk to me
and to each other about this idea until you are convinced that is nothing
objective about objectivity. Hence a positive aspect of a film review, or
opinion about the reading cannot be, it was good because it was objective or
it was bad because is was bias, everything that you will read, hear and see in
this course has a bias, either a hidden bias (hence it is pretending to be
objective) or an explicit bias in which case you are invited to know what the
particular point of view is and either think with it or against it.
For example in responding to today’s question: what is development?
2 One perspective is that development is good (while it may have some
negative consequences, good things come with bad things) and that is part
and parcel of everything in the world.
On the other hand
historicizing issues of development and telling us that ideas of development
have changed over time for some very good reasons, and that many would
argue that old ideas about development were/are very problematic and there
has been a huge effort among academics, activists and lay people to both
critique development and to work to change and shift and challenge its
Even though for example: I am an academic who believes development has
failed because it has been based on a hoax and with today’s film you are
going to get a better idea of some of the reasons that I think that. Yet at the
same time, I do not think we should advocate for the end of development,
but the end of development based on the old models.
We can think of Development as both a project and a process.
We want to improve our lives where and when we can, but we cannot
change them from very difficult to great, change is a process and at every
step we need to assess, change according to our assessment, reevaluate in
light of what we are confronted with and address the unforeseen problems
that arise from the steps we take.
This project and process then does not proceed in a straight line.
(a)History is crucial
(c) modernization is problematic
(d) Benefits in economic growth are not always equitable
(e) Sustainable Development
(f) Political change
(g) Economic determinism
a) History is crucial/ not like 19 century, but what have we learned
about how growth spreads within economies.
3 1. Agricultural sector plays a key role in economic growth.
Provides a marketable surplus,
Market for consumer goods
Labor power for industry
2. land ownership and tenure important
Those without often get into more debt and are landless and as a result
they have neither the means nor the abilities to make use of increased
3. Governments that invested in public education, land reform, improved
transportation, positively affected economic growth.(we need to keep
these things in mind as we see and experience more and more of the
effects of imposed austerity measures).
4. cannot imagine that history is everywhere the same, as if each place
must go through a set # of changes like William Rostow’s five stages