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Development effectiveness: modernisation theory redux? Emma Mawdsley

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1 Development effectiveness: modernisation theory redux? Emma Mawdsley

2 Aid effectiveness/new millennial paradigm Emergence of the aid effectiveness agenda: recipient ownership, donor harmonization, good governance, focus on ‘soft-wiring’ of development Post-modern sensibilities, universalism tempered by cultural relativism, ambivalence about the benefits of industrial modernity Mainstreaming of participatory approaches, gender, sustainable development Development norm centred on poverty reduction Commitment to a series of international development targets, most notably the Millennium Development Goals Bilateral norms and institutions dominated by OECD-DAC, albeit in a ‘partnership’ framework Relationship between development and ‘security’ rearticulated and deepened; strong focus on failing/fragile/conflict states Geopolitical context: war on terror, growth of the ‘rising powers’, rising global inequality

3 ‘Development effectiveness’ Rapid shift of discourse in the run-up to Busan Aid effectiveness displaced by ‘development effectiveness’: economic growth, focus on productivity and capacity, stronger role for the private sector, wider concept of development financing, a post-aid world – CSOs pushing the idea of DE as a rights-based agenda, but a minority voice Theories of development: Asian (generational, self-help, limited social, civil and political rights), South-South (non-interference, horizontal) End of western domination of global development governance; emerging regime uncertain, but more complex, voluntary Geopolitical context: the global financial crisis, submerging powers, rapidly shifting and fractured geographies of wealth and power

4 1950s/1960s modernisation theory Deeply rooted in US domestic politics and anxieties (Gilman 2007) Intellectual lineages in the Enlightenment (e.g. Comte, Condorcet etc), 19C economic-political theory (e.g. Hegel, Marx) and early 20C theories of societal change (e.g. Parsons, Durkheim) Holistic meta-narrative – the interplay of psychological, social, political and economic transformations Eurocentric, arrogant, culturally parochial and oblivious: from biological to cultural account of ‘backwardness’ Optimistic, trust in (‘western’) science, technology and know-how Narrative of national progress Broadly, a period of global growth and declining inequality. Geopolitical context: Cold War, decolonization, consolidation of a deeply uneven post-1945 international order; ‘developmental states’: capitalist, socialist, democratic, authoritarian; import substitution industrialization, trades unions

5 Similarities The (eventual) promise of industrial modernity, material growth, wealth Optimistic accounts of the promise of (Southern- led)science and technology – far less ambivalence about industrial modernity Limited concern environment or subaltern peoples or cultures Hubris? Assertions of national superiority? Linear model of stages of (economic – but not cultural) development?

6 Differences Biological and then cultural explanations of ‘backwardness’ replaced by geopolitical narrative: colonialism and neo-imperialism Dominated by economic element: notions of psychological, social and political transformation far less prominent Developmental states (liberal, socialist, authoritarian) replaced by transnational capitalist elites and a more prominent role for private sector, public-private partnerships Context of financial and trade deregulation; massive decline in trades union power; labour informality, SEZs Far wider set of actors, pluralizing international governance regimes, declining USA/western hard and soft power Legitimacy of Enlightenment-based universal human rights increasingly strongly resisted Different positioning of different sectors: resources/primary, manufacturing, services


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