Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World

Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World

Arturo Escobar

Language: English

Pages: 344

ISBN: 0691150451

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

How did the industrialized nations of North America and Europe come to be seen as the appropriate models for post-World War II societies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America? How did the postwar discourse on development actually create the so-called Third World? And what will happen when development ideology collapses? To answer these questions, Arturo Escobar shows how development policies became mechanisms of control that were just as pervasive and effective as their colonial counterparts. The development apparatus generated categories powerful enough to shape the thinking even of its occasional critics while poverty and hunger became widespread. "Development" was not even partially "deconstructed" until the 1980s, when new tools for analyzing the representation of social reality were applied to specific "Third World" cases. Here Escobar deploys these new techniques in a provocative analysis of development discourse and practice in general, concluding with a discussion of alternative visions for a postdevelopment era.

Escobar emphasizes the role of economists in development discourse--his case study of Colombia demonstrates that the economization of food resulted in ambitious plans, and more hunger. To depict the production of knowledge and power in other development fields, the author shows how peasants, women, and nature became objects of knowledge and targets of power under the "gaze of experts."

In a substantial new introduction, Escobar reviews debates on globalization and postdevelopment since the book's original publication in 1995 and argues that the concept of postdevelopment needs to be redefined to meet today's significantly new conditions. He then calls for the development of a field of "pluriversal studies," which he illustrates with examples from recent Latin American movements.

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,1153-62. ton, nc.: The World Bank. Purajuli, Prumod. 1991. Power and Knowledge in IX.'Vc\opment Disco\lr.~e. Interna. tiona1 Social Science JnumaI127:173-90. P..trdo, Franz, 1973. La Producei6n Agropecumia y las Necesidades Allmentarias de In Pohlaci6n Colombiana, Presented at the Primer Seminario Intersectorial de Allmentnci6n y Nutrici6n, Palmira, Decemher 9-12. Bogota: ICBR ___ , 1984. La SitUILd6n Alilllentaria de la Poblaci{)n Colomhianu. Encuesta Naci· opnal de Alinll'lltacion, Nutrici6n y

s with d , s . liS IS not to (eny, owever, t at (' d , . . , Ii ics in.~ )ecifie ways; locaLm(~c!el!i are C(~nstit~tive of a people's world, wbkb lllCans that thl"X tall.T)Q.Lbe r~dily ohservelThy objcttifying: positivist science. , already IIltroduced GudenIHn and Rivent's (l990) llotioll of local models as conversations that take plate in the tOTltext of dominant conversations. Indeed, what counts most from the of these authors is ',' i , I , articulatioIl of is a flow of strength [rum tIlt'

also ollcJ'ed detailed pJ'escriptions o(hqw to go ahout carrying out the phl";;';1i11g Se(!tlCllce: how to identi(v "ti;e problem," determine the "target group," set ohjectives, analyze eallses and aitel"llative courst~s of action, and so on. I n keeping with the planning spirit of the pt·riod, tllC)<-.d;~imed toJcl.h~,~_.l! 1!ys.tems approach to problem identification and solution. III olhCi·' words, they not'only' si.i{iji;ht to identify

demand fl)r dillcrcilt foodstuffs, and so ou). Once projcctions are done, I tilt' ll('xt stop is to consider the policies necessary to satisfy sueh (Jwjl't'tions. To this efled, tlw C:uide intwduel's (III the policies relevant to I(Jod production, COIIIllll'rt'inli/..utilm and intt'rnatiolllli trad(~; thos(' (If population, income, eclucatitm and /()od nid; und those Ill' sanitation, I\('alth ullliliutritioll. Afkr tl\{'se an' exnmilll'd in tIl{' light of the prohillm diagnosis and the

turned 011 a new suhject. From the latE:), 1970s untilloday, another client group of even larger proportions has been hrought into the space of visihility of development: women. It was thus that the women in development (WID) diseourse achieved u certain preeminenee. Finally, ill the 1980s, the objectifying gaze was turned not to people hut to nature-or, rather, the environment-resulting in tht~ by now in/famous discourse of sustainahle development) This chapter follows~he displacement ofthe

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