Encountering Development

Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World

Arturo Escobar
Copyright Date: 1995
Edition: STU - Student edition
Pages: 312
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7rtgw
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  • Book Info
    Encountering Development
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3992-6
    Subjects: Anthropology, Sociology, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. PREFACE TO THE 2012 EDITION
    (pp. vii-xliv)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xlv-2)
  5. Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION: DEVELOPMENT AND THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF MODERNITY
    (pp. 3-20)

    In his inaugural address as president of the United States on January 20, 1949, Harry Truman announced his concept of a “fair deal” for the entire world. An essential component of this concept was his appeal to the United States and the world to solve the problems of the “underdeveloped areas” of the globe.

    More than half the people of the world are living in conditions approaching misery. Their food is inadequate, they are victims of disease. Their economic life is primitive and stagnant. Their poverty is a handicap and a threat both to them and to more prosperous areas....

  6. Chapter 2 THE PROBLEMATIZATION OF POVERTY: THE TALE OF THREE WORLDS AND DEVELOPMENT
    (pp. 21-54)

    One of the many changes that occurred in the early post–World War II period was the “discovery” of mass poverty in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Relatively inconspicuous and seemingly logical, this discovery was to provide the anchor for an important restructuring of global culture and political economy. The discourse of war was displaced onto the social domain and to a new geographical terrain: the Third World. Left behind was the struggle against fascism. In the rapid globalization of U.S. domination as a world power, the “war on poverty” in the Third World began to occupy a prominent place....

  7. Chapter 3 ECONOMICS AND THE SPACE OF DEVELOPMENT: TALES OF GROWTH AND CAPITAL
    (pp. 55-101)

    Lauchlin Currie, a former Harvard economist and official in the Roosevelt administration, evoked in the following way, at a testimonial dinner party in Bogotá in 1979, the first World Bank mission, which thirty years earlier had taken him to that same country:

    I don’t know where in my conservative Canadian background I acquired a reformer’s zeal, but I must admit that I had it. I just happen to be one of those tiresome people who can’t encounter a problem without wanting to do something about it. So you can imagine how Colombia affected me. Such a marvelous number of practically...

  8. Chapter 4 THE DISPERSION OF POWER: TALES OF FOOD AND HUNGER
    (pp. 102-153)

    No aspect of development appears to be as straightforward as hunger. When people are hungry, is not the provision of food the logical answer? Policy would be a matter of ensuring that enough food reaches those in need on a sustained basis. The symbolism of hunger, however, has proven powerful throughout the ages. From famine in prehistoric times to the food riots in Latin America during the 1980s and early 1990s, hunger has been a potent social and political force. From the Bible to Knut Hamsun, Dickens, Orwell, Steinbeck, and, in twentieth-century Latin America, Ciro Alegría, Jorge Icaza, and Graciliano...

  9. Chapter 5 POWER AND VISIBILITY: TALES OF PEASANTS, WOMEN, AND THE ENVIRONMENT
    (pp. 154-211)

    The History of development is seen in conventional analyses in terms of the evolution of theories and ideas, or as the succession of more or less effective interventions. For political economists, the same history reflects different ideological responses to allegedly deeper contradictions, dictated by capital accumulation and circulation. This history, however, can also be seen from the perspective of the changes and transformations in the discursive regime, even if these changes, as should be clear by now, are circumscribed by discursive practices tied to political economies, knowledge traditions, and institutions of ruling.

    In chapter 2, I argued that the development...

  10. Chapter 6 CONCLUSION: IMAGINING A POSTDEVELOPMENT ERA
    (pp. 212-226)

    The Industrialized Countries, with 26 percent of the population, account for 78 percent of world production of goods and services, 81 percent of energy consumption, 70 percent of chemical fertilizers, and 87 percent of world armaments. One U.S. resident spends as much energy as 7 Mexicans, 55 Indians, 168 Tanzanians, and 900 Nepalis. In many Third World countries, military expenditures exceed expenditures for health. The cost of one modern fighter plane can finance forty thousand rural health centers. In Brazil, the consumption of the 20 percent richest is thirty-three times that of the 20 percent poorest, and the gap between...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 227-248)
  12. REFERENCES
    (pp. 249-274)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 275-290)