IDSA01 Chapter 4 Notes.docx

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International Development Studies
Leslie Chan

IDSA01 Introduction to International Development Chapter 4-Post-Development and Alternatives to Development The Post-Development Turn in Development Studies: Historical Context  post-development thought emerged in the context of three aspects: the crisis of post-1945 development theories, the perceived failure of development practices according to the dominant theories of development (neoliberalism and modernization) and the rise of social movements in the Global South and postmodern thought The Crisis in Development Theorizing and Practice in the 1980s and 1990s  the colonial era was marked by the notion of “civilizing” the “savage other” much like how post WWII the same idea has been applied but until the non-offensive title of “development”  the neoliberal ideal (1980s) demanded the dismantlement of the modernization theories and other theories especially Keynesian policies regarding the role of state in the economy  its core tenets are privatization of publicly owned enterprises, removal of tariffs and other bottlenecks that limit international free trade and foreign direct investments, a focus on primary commodity export- led development strategy with emphasis on the comparative advantage of each country, rolling back on the state by downsizing civil service, removing subsidies and cutting government social expenditure in education, water and health sectors and devaluing local currencies  however many actors in the Global South found neoliberalism as the cause of deepening economic stagnation, growing poverty and the declining ability of the government in the Global South to fulfill their traditional functions  it was out of this that post-development arose accompanied by postmodernism and post-structuralism  language is central to the understanding of social reality  knowledge is socially constructed and thus not neutral, there is no universal knowledge and any attempts to universalize knowledge lead to the colonization or subordination of other forms of knowledge  power dynamics underpin knowledge production and dissemination Interrogating Post-1945 Development Discourse: Post-Development Perspectives  the “myth of development,” modernity and other assumptions that had informed development discourse as it had been conceptualized and practiced post WWII came into question  in old forms of development, taking control of people’s live eroding their ability to define and take care of their own lives, became questioned  hallmarks of post-1945 development theory: representation, knowledge-power, depoliticization, universalism and homogenization Development Discourse: Colonial Representation, Knowledge-Power, and Depoliticization  “language is one of the ‘media’ through which thoughts, ideas and feelings are represented in a culture…representation through language is…central to the processes by which meaning is produced….Sounds, words, notes, gestures, expressions, clothes…They construct meaning and transmit it. They signify….they are the vehicles or media which carry meaning because they operate as symbols, which stand for or represents [i.e., symbolize] the meanings we wish to communicate”  representation enables the production of the social reality that development institutions can enforce on a group/population, they legitimize their political, cultural and economic agendas and thus silence any opposition or expression of the true effects of that policy  depoliticization refers to approaches that represent political and economic issues as t
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