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To What Extent is Development A Western Construct?

The problematization of poverty in the DFID Operational plan 2011-2015 for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Oliver Hunter

on 13 December 2012

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Transcript of To What Extent is Development A Western Construct?

To what extent is Development a Western construct? The 'Development Discourse' What is development? The problematisation of poverty 'Development is made out of a network of concepts'- Sachs DFID and Development Within the wider development framework Professionalisation in the DFID Operational Plan for the DRC Implications of professionalisation in these documents Institutionalisation in the DFID operational plan. Implications of the intstituionalsation of DFID plan. In this presentation I will pursue a critical analysis of the discourse of development through exploring the Western problematisation of poverty. I will do so by identifying the reproduction and construction of the 'third world' in the modern example of the DFID operational plan for the reduction of poverty in the Democratic republic of the Congo. The professionalisation
of poverty The institutionalisation
of poverty "The Department for International Development is determined to help reduce the inequalities of opportunity we see around the world today". "We believe that promoting global prosperity is both a moral duty and in the U.K's national interest" The process and reproduction of development within the realm of expert knowledge and Western science.

This is pursued through the mechanisms in which a politics of truth is created and through which certain forms of knowledge are given the status of truth.

This has been effected through the proliferation of economic development sciences; the use of statistics to analyse and evaluate the effects of 'modernisation' and 'development' and the discursive production of hypotheses, challenges and solutions.

Incorporation of other 'problems' in to the space of development leads to these issues being analysed and understood through the established system of scientific development knowledge.

Power lies in the institutions and individuals that dictate what is and isn't part of the development discourse The neecessary creation of an institutional framework in the process of inventing development as a platform from which to produce, record, stabilize, modify and circulate the discourses of development.

This includes international organisations and state governments to community development committees and NGO's. Bretton Woods: World Bank and IMF to a growing body of aid NGO's across the world.

The degree to which these institutions have spread since 1940 has lead to an established, normalised and effective network of power articulated, exerted and adapted by the relations between and through institutions that are perceived as natural and inherent to the functioning of modern international politics. Each of these is intimately linked with the other as the professionalisation and institutionalisation constitutes a framework that sets and organizes the distribution and production of forms of knowledge and power relating one to the other. The development of a concrete and strictly organised framework of development discourse is integral to the normalisation and legitimisation of the theory and practice that the 'development discourse' includes. 'Encountering Development' proposed thinking of development as an historical discourse. Maintaining focus on 'domination as earlier Marxist analysis did yet be able to explore more fruitfully the conditions of possibility and the pervasive effects of 'development'. The advantage of discourse analysis as creating the possibility to 'stand detached from the discourse enabling one to analyze the theoretical and practical context with which it has been associated'. Sachs- "The idea of development stands like a ruin in the intellectual landscape"-"It is time to dismantle this mental structure". 'Development' as a discourse that has been embedded, produced and reproduced within the neutral expert discourse of science.

Production of a set of normalised truths.

Lead to the Western representation of the 'third world' and the invention of certain 'unequal power relationships in discourse leading to the production of knowledge'. (Tucker) DFID is also the largest bilateral donor to Development research. A 2009 rebranding process of DFID in to the UK AID was a push to ensure clarity in the developing world that aid was coming from Britain. Science and Professionalisation Concern of representation The critiques of anti-development Jan Nederveen-Pieterse
"Treating development as homogeneous leads to concealing divergences within development" Sachs- 'Perception of poverty was nothing more than the result of a comparative statistical operation' Brown The trap in Post-development literature to "abstract analyses of representation and discursive strategies from the economic and political forces which infuse them with power and authority Development through the process of problematising poverty must be "seen as a historical construct that provides a space in which poor countries are known, specified and intervened upon". (Escobar) Problematisation of poverty as a means of legitimising the practices of development.

Esteva- poverty as a 'loaded word'. "Economics in a conceptual sense strives to subordinate to its rule and to subsume under its logic every other form of social interaction in the society it 'makes".

The arrival of the economic conception of poverty and the 'annual per capita income'. Rahnema outlines 2 key historical moments:

-The transformation of the poor in to the assisted. A social problem

-The globalisation of poverty the construction of 2/3s of the world as poor post 1945 defined in terms of lacking the material wealth of Western nations. The introduction of annual per capita income as a measure of poverty.
"Wealth creation/ infrastrucure" - expected result 1,700Km additional Road.

"Wealth creation/ business environment" - "reduction in time (days) and real cost (% Gross national income per capita) to start a business. Expected result reduction from 149 - 75 days to start a business. The Value for Money (VfM) rationale:
'where possible DFID will "cluster activities geographically eg. building roads in areas where we are working on basic services" Delivering VfM. "Action plan to mainstream VfM at all levels of activity" "...To undertake cost benefit/effectiveness analysis and to develop a series of VfM metrics for all interventions that the results value chain and explicitly address the key economy, efficiency and effectiveness elements of VfM, including unit costs." Response Vision and Results: DFID programme for theory of change to East DRC roads Research method of the document.
-Analysis of content
-Hypothesis of change
-Assessment of evidence
-Evaluation of evidence "The theory of change is based on the fundamental logic that a road can provide access to markets
as well as allow for the provision of security, which in turn can lead to improved incomes and
security for the population of North and South Kivu" VfM Rationale Vision & Results The vision of wealth creation through infrastructure and business. Primarily wealth creation as the 2 primary solutions to the problem of povety. The emphasis on roads is emphasised throughout the DFID documents. Focus of development on infrastructure, business and wealth creation as a precursor to poverty alleviation. Western model of economic development presented as a necessary truth to poverty alleviation. Value for money rationale and response The use of the discourse of "rationality" further entrenches the legtimisation of the proposal.
Clear emphasis on the priorities of economic frugality as a premise to building roads in certain areas. Enabling the geographical autonomy of development in the hands of DFID under guise of the process of economic value for money to enable poverty reduction. Note the scientific economic discourse of VfM. The response to achieving VfM is located in an expert discourse. Theory of Change to Roads The process of hypothesis, assessment and evaluation as scientific method, producing truth. Legitimisation of conclusions.
That roads are needed to pursue Western modes of economic development through access to markets and provision of security. As presented in these two graphs. Results- Use of the 'World Bank Doing Business Survey" for wealth creation statistics. MONUSCO electoral division and project monitoring to asses governance and elections. Delivery & Resources - "U.K. not in a position to channel aid through government systems." "intervention is delivered through a range of different partners and instruments". Partners including the World Bank and UN accounting for 40 % of funding. "Pooled funding with other donors on roads reform such as the Humanitarian pooled fund and the Civil Society fund for Good Governance". Millennium Development goals - Throughout the DFID operational plan builds towards the 2015 United Nations Millennium Development goals. These goals were decided by 196 states of the UN and agreed funding through the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank. The cancellation of debt owed by members of the 'Heavily Indebted Poor Countries'. Results The use of statistics and 'facts' gathered from the World Bank inform the pursuit of results on business. The knowledge and truths constructed through the Western dominated World Bank are proposed as the evidence for legitimisation of DFIDs strategy.
The inter connected web of institutionalised truths circulated and reproduced through other development agencies. Delivery Institutionalised exclusion of the DRC government. Instead prioritising a set of external 'partners' for pursuing development strategy in the DRC. The discursive practice of exclusion of institutions within the 'developing state' infers a hierachy and hegemonic order of tackling development. The concept of 'good governance' within the development discourse is then paradoxically not channeled through government, but externally.
This explicit delegitmisation of the DRC government's power legitimises the external intervention of development agencies. Millennium Development Goals The institutionalisation of the development discourse is realised through the exertio of power through established and normalised frameworks that are manageable, quantifiable and reproduced throughout the institutions of development such as DFID. The premise of the document is achieving the MDG targets by 2015.
MDG's are produced by the UN within the network of institutions that dominate and dictate the development discourse.
The labelling of the heavily indebted poor countries within the MDG discourse changes the dynamic power flow within.
Institutionalising the MDG's within DFID enables the measurements of develoment to kept within the institutional framework of the established economic scientific discourse. It is the institutional framework that dictates the flow of autonomy over development ecocomics and as such the hegemonic power of that can be exerted through legitimisation in line with this knowledge structure In Conclusion Addressing the critiques of development. The benefits of a deconstructive analysis of the development discourse. Illuminating the dialectics of power that are normalised through processes of professionalization and institutionalisation of concepts and practices of development In so doing identifying development as a construction produced by Western centres of power that enforce a hegemonic order upon the developing world in so doing legitimising the actions and practices of Western development. By Oliver Hunter.
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