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Politics and Development A-102

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1 Politics and Development A-102
Development Studies-The State of the Discipline Dr. Taiabur Rahman Department of Development Studies University of Dhaka

2 Introduction DS is a relatively young field of academic study. The term ‘Development Studies’ did not come into use until after World War II and many DS journals date from the early 1950s to the early 1970s. Many have argued that DS was born out of the decolonization process in the 1950s and 1960s, as newly independent states sought policy prescriptions to ‘catch up’ economically with industrialized nations . If we accept that DS is largely a post-World War II phenomenon, then the dominance of economic thinking in the ‘early years’ of DS is virtually beyond question. Contextual factors shaping DS at this time were certainly economic.

3 Introduction There was the influence of Marshall Plan ideas, and the well-cited 1949 Truman Declaration of ‘a bold new program to make the benefits of industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of under-developed areas’. It can even be argued that DS emerged from ‘a lower-ranking caste’ within what Leijonhufvud (2000) labelled ‘the Econ’ – the economics profession. The ‘Devlops’ – or Development Economists – were viewed with suspicion by the Econ for ‘endangering the moral fibre’ of the tribe by non-enforcement of the strict taboo against association with Polscics, Sociogs, and other tribes. It might, however, also be argued that the genealogy of DS can be linked back to eighteenth-century anthropology..

4 Introduction However, economics was dominant in DS during the 1950s and 1960s, and even today in the age of multi-dimensional development the relationship between DS and economics remains controversial Indeed, economics stands accused of imperialist tendencies, not only in DS but across the social sciences. it is worth emphasizing that some of the fundamental changes over the last 20 years that have shaped the evolution of DS into multi-disciplinarity and away from purely economic approaches have been led by development economists such as Amartya K. Sen, Paul Streeten, and Ravi Kanbur, to name but a few.

5 Introduction Development Studies is the historical creature of Post World War II Development Studies came in being to provide policy prescriptions for third world nations’ development after decolonization. While it originally emerged as a branch of economics, development economics, it has become an increasingly inter- and multi-disciplinary subject, encompassing politics, history, woman studies, sociology, geography, social anthropology and international relations Development studies takes of issues of poverty, resource distribution and the like. It is one of the realms of theory and practice that is established academically and politically It has theory and it has the power of the western purse out in the ‘Third World’. It is the field along with imperial history and literature Development Studies as a professional field was born in the 1950s around three themes of late modernity-Decolonization, Rationality and Development

6 Theoretical Impasse Social science’s theoretical image of the 3rd world could have analyzed by oppositional Modernization and Dependency. Both theories partially could explain the development trajectories in the 3rd world 1980s have become known as Lost Decade in development terms for Africa and LA. 199Os ended with a new development blockage among the NIEs and near NIEs in Asian region (Asian Financial Crisis). Now the East Asian NICs no longer provide a complete refutation of dependency theory (they compete among each other) 2000s have started with recovery economic downturn in NICS

7 Theoretical Impasse Neither markets nor the state are likely to go away in the foreseeable future. The issue is neither individual liberty nor empowerment of the state but to make both amenable to serving human needs. The study area remains in crisis as does its subject, the Third World. Development theory cannot concentrate itself on the study of 3rd world perse DS as Leys puts’ can no longer be conceived as a kind of area studies’. Poverty is becoming increasingly widespread in the north as claimed by Hesselberg. Joint efforts to achieve high development goal can be stressed

8 Fifty Years of Development Thinking
The essentialization of the 3rd World and its inhabitants as homogeneous entities The unconditional belief in the concept of progress and in the makeability of society The importance of the nation state in realizing that progress The first two characteristics form the core of so called developmentalism: a kind of evolutionary development thinking directed at the 3rd world that was unilineair and teleological and could harbour two apparently contradictory theories-Modernization and Dependencia

9 Fifty Years of Development Thinking-Contd.
The 3rd characteristic underscores the role of state in the developmental process. The idea of constructing the welfare state in the western industrial world was exported to the 3rd World The essentialization of the 3rd World Mounting critique of the idea of a homogenious 3rd world The critique was an extension of dependency theory Example-The role of OPEC in oil crisis in 1970, the economic success of NICs amid extreme poverty in Africa, the return to military dictatorship in several LA countries made clear that the 3rd world was too heterogeneous a category to be covered by one theory-Dependencia

10 Fifty Years of Development Thinking-Contd.
This critique of alleged homogeneity was strengthened by the postmodern critique of essentialism which was brought forward by Foucault and Derrida. To them, real social research is not possible, it comes from the subjective mind of the researcher in question or based on so-called shared experiences of a group of respondents At a Paradigmatic level, there was a sort of change from an emphasis on inequality to one on diversity.

11 Fifty Years of Development Thinking-Contd.
The end of the belief in Progress In the 1980s, development pessimism had already set in because it was realized that the gap between the poor and rich continued to widen, economic growth took place at cost of environmental catastrophe and socialist inspired development trajectories from academic and political agendas have been excluded

12 Fifty Years of Development Thinking-Contd.
W. Sachs(1992) found the concept of development outdated because- Technology leads to ecological disaster The concept of development as ideological weapon is no longer there Welfare gap between north and south is growing Development leads to a loss of diversity

13 Fifty Years of Development Thinking-Contd.
Huntington –talking about cultural relativism Robert Kaplan-(1994, the coming anarchy) piants a picture of total social and political chaos in West Africa Ulrich beck talks about risk society The end in the belief in the role of state Globalization is threat to sovereignty (monopoly of the use of institutionalized violence with their borders, privatization/ local government/cultural identity is eroding in favor of cosmopolitanism

14 Paradigm regained Three paradigms of post WWII development thinking have lost their hegemonic status in DS. Diversity vs inequality- gender studies for instance-emancipation of large number of people/difference in terms of sex, race, class, ethnicity Can studying endless diversity with the south contribute anything to alleviating poverty in the 3rd world? The very essence of DS is a normative preoccupation with the poor, marginalized and exploited people in the South Inequality rather than diversity/difference should be the focus of DS: Inequality of access to power, resources, to human existence-in short, inequality of emancipation

15 Paradigm regained Progress vs Risk Management
Let the poor in 3rd world forget about needs which resemble those of the north/1st world needs/they should lead lives of their own That is pessimistic view. People in south also want to lead decent life, enjoy modern facilities, full citizenship and political participation The concept of risk society is not uncontested-the globe is at risk due to expansion of western capital. The risk has always been exported to south. Risk should be evenly spread The notion of progress seems to have lost much of its hegemonic status within DS. Alternative views however have not come up

16 Paradigm regained State vs Civil Society
State has been deemphasized in favor of civil society, local government or both Three issues-retreat of state, role of LG and significance of CS Transition from Politicomilitary model of international mgt and domination to technofinancial system of global integration in the WM (Nayar, Shaw and Kothari) on the ground of spatial or concentration of trade and investment, the definition of state should be updated/ recast

17 Paradigm regained The 3rd world countries are in a transition phase to democracy, the national state is robbed of through local government and local autonomy Role of state be replaced by civil society? However, enthusiasm with which civil society has been embraced as a new paradigm has not been matched by an elaboration of its theoretical dimensions. Putnam(1993) and Fukuyama(1996) have talked about the construction of civil society with the right kind (may lead to democracy and economic development) It is highly premature to replace the paradigmatic importance of the state by that of civil society

18 Conclusion Some of the paradigms seemed to have been lost and from mid-1980 s an impasse in development studies became clearly visible. We have seen where the criticism of central paradigms came from and that alternative paradigms are either absent or less attractive. The challenge for DS is to reestablish its continued relevance to study and to under the process of exclusion and development. It need not cling to its own treasured paradigms but to welcome alternative new ideas Last but not the least, a crucial point to be kept in mind is that understanding development is a process with numerous influences-conventional and unconventional Decolonizing of the mind must be done through a dialectical dialogue in constant contact with realities of the field-at home and away.

19 The Rationale for DS DS has a normative point of departure – to improve people’s lives – and thus a shared commitment to the practical or policy relevance of teaching and research. There is also a growing interest among DS teachers and thinkers in the importance of addressing local and global inequality, particularly gender inequality – to which DS has been more responsive than have some of its component disciplines. This is perhaps one reason why feminist economists, anthropologists, geographers, political scientists, and so on have been drawn to DS.

20 Subject matter of DS DS has a shared interest in ‘less developed countries’, or ‘developing countries’, or ‘the South’, or ‘post-colonial societies’, formerly known as ‘the Third World’, and comparative analysis therein. Teaching and research in DS increasingly emphasizes heterogeneity and diversity in the subject matter of what was perceived as a homogeneous ‘Third World’ in the 1950s and 1960s – and today is certainly not so perceived (compare Ghana and South Korea in the 1950s and now, for example). Increasingly DS is also recognising context-specific matters and moving away from universal laws The connecting theme is, in general, post-colonial countries, or the ‘Global South’, and standards of living within them. One might add the transition countries of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, and perhaps DS even has something to say about OECD countries.

21 What is DS DS is about development
DS is (to a greater or lesser extent) about cross-disciplinary insights. DS increasingly seeks to draw on the insights of more than one discipline but does not necessarily always achieve this satisfactorily. DS is (to a large extent) about applied or instrumental research. DS tends not to be interested in knowledge generation for its own sake, but for its applied or instrumental value. DS is concerned with real-world problems (even when theorizing). Many members of the DS ‘community’ seek to ‘make a difference’.

22 What is DS

23 What is DS Each of these three characteristics represents elements within the 3x3x3 cube. The first, about the dimensions of development, can be sub-divided into development (a) as a process of change; (b) as a policy and/or practice-related evaluative outcome; or (c) as a dominant discourse. This could be viewed as a continuum from arguably value-free (development as change) at one end to research that is more explicitly value-laden (development as a policy-related and/or practice-related evaluative outcome) at the other end. We would argue that these are the three discernable definitions of ‘development’.

24 What is DS The first is historical and long-term and arguably relatively value-free – emphasizing ‘development’ as a process of change. The second is policy-related and evaluative or indicator-led, is based on value judgments (relating, for example, to ‘good’ change), and has short- to medium-term time horizons – development as the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), for example. The third is post-modernist, drawing attention to the ethnocentric and ideologically loaded Western conceptions of ‘development’ and raising the possibilities of alternative conceptions. A common theme within most definitions is that ‘development’ encompasses ‘change’ in a variety of aspects of the human condition. Indeed, one of the simplest definitions of ‘development’ is probably Chambers’ notion of ‘good change’.

25 What is DS The second dimension of the development cube, ‘about cross-disciplinary insights’, can also be placed in a continuum of approaches – multi-disciplinary, inter-disciplinary, or transdisciplinary research – denoting an increasing level of integration between constituent disciplines. Development Studies seeks to be cross-disciplinary. Cross-disciplinarity is a generic term meaning any kind of mixing of disciplines. Multi-disciplinarity entails researchers in teams conducting research from their own disciplinary viewpoint but where the team as a whole includes researchers from a number of disciplines. Inter-disciplinarity is a step further towards integration rather than co-existence and means that the different disciplines are still discernable but some level of deeper integration is evident. Individuals (or teams) seek to integrate concepts and methodologies from the outset. Most of the individual researchers will be familiar with at least a second discipline.

26 What is DS Trans-disciplinarity relates to complete integration of two or more disciplines with the possibility of forming a new discipline. As an example, the field-research method known as ethnography originates in anthropology but took insights from psychology, philosophy, sociology, and other disciplines. A final option in this classification is ‘non-disciplinarity’, which represents a deliberate attempt to move away from the notion that one should work within well-defined disciplinary boundaries – a position which might be taken by those working in a post-modernist perspective.

27 What is DS

28 What is DS If the first dimension is the focus – i.e. ‘development’ (however defined) – and the second dimension of the cube is the approach – i.e. cross-disciplinarity – the third dimension of the development cube is the aim or purpose. This can again be placed within a continuum of purpose – from research with limited instrumentality (such as theory/abstraction) at one end of the continuum to research with high instrumentality at the other (research which is focused on policy, practice, or on an action-based approach), with combinations of the two in between.

29 What is DS Many people are attracted to DS by some sense of concern and commitment about social justice and the prevailing levels of global poverty and inequality. One avenue for this commitment is a focus on informing policy. Definitions of DS typically identify some level of instrumentality, as in proposition that ‘knowledge generation is not an end in itself’. This makes DS, in the words of Mehta et al. (2006) ‘more loaded and contested than other kinds of research’. Indeed, its instrumentality has been a central factor in many critiques of DS. It has led many to contend that DS is ‘the source of many of the problems of the so-called Third World’

30 The Critic of DS Recent years have seen numerous attacks on DS, of which three stand out. The first might be called a ‘delivery’ critique: that DS is irrelevant, since much of the ‘Third World’ is no better off than in 1950s or even before. The second is the ‘neo-colonial’ or post-development critique: that DS is a neo-colonial discourse which frames, shapes, and controls the ‘Third World’. The third is the ‘depoliticization critique’: that DS is apolitical, or even that it is a vehicle for depoliticisation, through the expansion of DS as a politically neutral technocratic application.

31 The Critic of DS The first critique relates closely to the neo-liberal critique and is based on the argument that DS (read: Development Economics) is predicated on ‘bad economics’ (state-led development, import substitution, infant-industry protection, etc.) and has led to bad consequences, as has been argued by economists such as Milton Friedman, Anne Krueger, and Deepak Lal, among others. The problem was the economics of DS.

32 The Critic of DS The second critique relates to Michel Foucault’s notions of knowledge and power in the context of post-development. This posited DS as an imperialist discourse which sought to impose a Western view of ‘development’ as modernity on the ‘Third World’ (a position sustained by writers such as Arturo Escobar, Gustavo Esteva, and Wolfgang Sachs, among many others). DS was in itself the problem.

33 The Critics of DS The third relates to the extended power of the state and ‘technification’ of development as a set of concepts and techniques to be applied through the planning state. This problem resonates with Foucault’s political technologies: political problems rephrased in politically neutral, technocratic language, while state functionaries or development professionals are typically the ‘experts’ (as writers such as Robert Chambers, James Ferguson, and John Harriss have argued.

34 The Future of DS DS could expand to be more global in perspective, rather than maintaining its primary focus on ‘them’ and deprivation in the South. The case is that the concerns of DS extend beyond developing countries, since there are poverty and wealth in every country. Inequalities within high-income countries mean that the types of policy analysis applied to poverty-reduction programs in developing countries have a broader relevance. All countries are ‘developing’ in some sense of the term, and industrialized countries experience structural change of a socio-economic nature just as much as the developing countries. So cross-disciplinary analysis, which is familiar to DS researchers, is also relevant to industrialized countries.

35 The Future of DS A number of other socio-economic issues in industrialized countries are also associated with the concerns of DS. For example, problems of ‘over-development’ in the industrialised countries, such as unhealthy diet and obesity, have complex socio-economic causes and effects. High consumption levels with their associated high CO2 emissions in the industrialised countries have an impact not only on these countries, but also on developing countries through the global environmental effects of the emissions. Other examples of increasing inter-connectedness between industrialised and developing countries such as the globalisation of terrorism, security issues, and pandemics (HIV and AIDS and avian flu, for example) mean that a cross-disciplinary approach to research and policy analysis is increasingly relevant in an international context.

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