Essentialism in and about Development Discourse
The Basic Defects of Your Essential Vision of Development and the Inherent Strengths of My Favoured Policy Means
DEVELOPMENT' AS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE ?
The nature of development discourse attracts growing attention. Various authors propose lists of basic features of this discourse or of some mainstream in it. One central proposed feature is a frequent usage of the term 'development' as simultaneously descriptive and evaluative: as referring to specific empirical features or processes and at the same time as inherently good, good by definition. James Ferguson, like some earlier authors, describes this as a tacit oscillation between two definitions of development, one meaning modernization, industrialization and/or transition to capitalism, and the other meaning improvement of quality of life or increase of well-being (1990: 15, 55). Negative experiences of capitalism or whatever then become excused as not real examples, not 'real development'; and the concept of 'development' can live on as at the same time a definite programme and an untarnishable promise. The programme becomes treated as essentially good, and the negative experiences as excusable misfortunes.
|Series||ISS Staff Group 2: States, Societies and World Development|
|Journal||The European Journal of Development Research|
|Note||Also published as a chapter in: Arguing Development Policy - Frames And Discourses, eds. R. Apthorpe and D. Gasper, London: Frank Cass, 1996|
Gasper, D.R. (1996). Essentialism in and about Development Discourse. The European Journal of Development Research, 1996(June), 149–176. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/50697
|metis_163837.pdf Author Manuscript , 240kb|