Encountering Development

Encountering Development : The Making and Unmaking of the Third World

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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'.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 152 x 235 x 18.8mm | 425g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 0691001022
  • 9780691001029
  • 350,860

Back cover copy

"An intelligent and thorough overview of the rise of the concept of 'development' . . . . [This book] represents the best of interdisciplinary work in cultural studies and speaks to central debates across the permeable borders of anthropology, economics, history, sociology, and development studies."--Orin Starn, Duke University
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Table of contents

Preface vii CHAPTER 1 Introduction: Development and the Anthropology of Modernity 3 CHAPTER 2 The Problematization of Poverty: The Tale of Three Worlds and Development 21 CHAPTER 3 Economics and the Space of Development: Tales of Growth and Capital 55 CHAPTER 4 The Dispersion of Power: Tales of Food and Hunger 102 CHAPTER 5 Power and Visibility: Tales of Peasants, Women, and the Environment 154 CHAPTER 6 Conclusion: Imagining a Postdevelopment Era 212 Notes 227 References 249 Index 275
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Review quote

Arturo Escobar has given us an important and exciting take on issues of Third World development and its alternatives... [This book] indisputably provides some exciting and significant new ways of thinking about development... Arturo Escobar has done us all a service. -- Contemporary Sociology
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About Arturo Escobar

Arturo Escobar is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He recently taught at Smith College.
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Rating details

354 ratings
3.96 out of 5 stars
5 31% (110)
4 42% (147)
3 21% (74)
2 6% (20)
1 1% (3)
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