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Eunice N. Sahle, Power, Resistance and Politics of Knowledge Production: From ?Civilizing? Mission to Development Discourse in Africa

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Abstract:

The post-1945 period has seen the emergence of a hegemonic development discourse which has greatly influenced political, socio-cultural and economic processes in most parts of the global South. A core feature of this discourse has been the construction of Asian, African and Latin American societies as backward and thus in need of modernizing projects at the politico-economic and cultural level. The construction of non-Western societies along these lines draws heavily on imperial and racist discourses about the non-Western ?other?. In the context of hegemonic development discourse the ?developing other? is constructed as ?unruly? and thus ?requiring management and intervention? (Crush, 1995). Yet, dominant theorists of development present their ideas as being neutral aresult of which has been the normalization of a set of ideas that are heavily implicated in global ?overt, covert and structural? power realities (Gill and Law, 1988). This paper evolves on two levels: first and focusing mainly on theconstruction of African societies in the post-1945 hegemonic development discourse, it demonstrates how the evolution and the constitutive ideas of this discourse have reproduced ahistorical and racist notions of non-Western social formations. In the main, the analysis demonstrates how the Hegelian view of Africa as the land of ?childhood?, ?mere desire?, situated outside human historical development is reproduced in the vast vocabulary of development discourse (Ngugi wa Thiong?o and Sahle, 2004). Second, while the paper foregrounds the hegemony of development discourse in official development practices, it nevertheless demonstrates the crucial contributions of African intellectuals in the emergence of a counter-consensus theoretical tradition in global development studies. The paper contends that the work of these intellectuals?produced under very difficult political and structural conditions?has opened up discursive spaces for Africans to imagine and struggle for what some scholars havetermed as ?alternatives to development? discourse (Arturo Escobar, 1995). By focusing on the hegemonic and counter-consensus development discourses the paper attempts to demonstrate the dialectic nature of knowledgeproduction. Such an approach to the study of politics of knowledge production concludes the paper, leads to a more comprehensive and nuanced discussion of this process than has tended to be the case hitherto.
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Association:
Name: International Studies Association 48th Annual Convention
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http://www.isanet.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p180032_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Sahle, Eunice. "Eunice N. Sahle, Power, Resistance and Politics of Knowledge Production: From ?Civilizing? Mission to Development Discourse in Africa" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association 48th Annual Convention, Hilton Chicago, CHICAGO, IL, USA, Feb 28, 2007 <Not Available>. 2016-06-08 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p180032_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sahle, E. N. , 2007-02-28 "Eunice N. Sahle, Power, Resistance and Politics of Knowledge Production: From ?Civilizing? Mission to Development Discourse in Africa" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association 48th Annual Convention, Hilton Chicago, CHICAGO, IL, USA <Not Available>. 2016-06-08 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p180032_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: The post-1945 period has seen the emergence of a hegemonic development discourse which has greatly influenced political, socio-cultural and economic processes in most parts of the global South. A core feature of this discourse has been the construction of Asian, African and Latin American societies as backward and thus in need of modernizing projects at the politico-economic and cultural level. The construction of non-Western societies along these lines draws heavily on imperial and racist discourses about the non-Western ?other?. In the context of hegemonic development discourse the ?developing other? is constructed as ?unruly? and thus ?requiring management and intervention? (Crush, 1995). Yet, dominant theorists of development present their ideas as being neutral aresult of which has been the normalization of a set of ideas that are heavily implicated in global ?overt, covert and structural? power realities (Gill and Law, 1988). This paper evolves on two levels: first and focusing mainly on theconstruction of African societies in the post-1945 hegemonic development discourse, it demonstrates how the evolution and the constitutive ideas of this discourse have reproduced ahistorical and racist notions of non-Western social formations. In the main, the analysis demonstrates how the Hegelian view of Africa as the land of ?childhood?, ?mere desire?, situated outside human historical development is reproduced in the vast vocabulary of development discourse (Ngugi wa Thiong?o and Sahle, 2004). Second, while the paper foregrounds the hegemony of development discourse in official development practices, it nevertheless demonstrates the crucial contributions of African intellectuals in the emergence of a counter-consensus theoretical tradition in global development studies. The paper contends that the work of these intellectuals?produced under very difficult political and structural conditions?has opened up discursive spaces for Africans to imagine and struggle for what some scholars havetermed as ?alternatives to development? discourse (Arturo Escobar, 1995). By focusing on the hegemonic and counter-consensus development discourses the paper attempts to demonstrate the dialectic nature of knowledgeproduction. Such an approach to the study of politics of knowledge production concludes the paper, leads to a more comprehensive and nuanced discussion of this process than has tended to be the case hitherto.


Similar Titles:
Politics of Power and Knowledge in Global Development: Retrieving the Absent through an Engagement with the Present

The Ethics and Politics of Knowledge Production Among Female Software Programmers in FOSS Development


 
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