- anthropologists of the early 20th century distinguished between primitive (traditional) societies and modern societies;
- modernization theory saw industrialization as the key to the development of modern society; post-WWII foreign policy for Western countries saw the heightened drive to develop “traditional” societies through industrialization and incorporation into the global market system
- as industrialization starts, societies bifurcated into “dual societies” (modern and traditional sector)
- as a society became further linked to the global marketplace, the modern sector of society would expand and the traditional sector would contract
- underdevelopment was seen from this perspective as lacking technology, capital, education, entrepreneurial spirit, etc. – the cultural trappings of modern society
- modernization theory ran into a big problem – development failed in many cases, and tradition (i.e., religion) proved to be more resistant to modernizing efforts
- development did not lead to modernization because of the political and economic interests of the developed world
- Andre Frank: first world maintains power over third world (developing countries) by fostering third world countries dependency upon first world; underdevelopment was produced as a result of power imbalances
- Wallerstein and the World Capitalist System: societies and cultures cannot be understood solely within the boundaries of a nation-state; world is interconnected through a complex political economic relationship, where global “centers” exert their power and influence over the “periphery” in a number of ways
Defined in this way, development entails the simultaneous recognition and negation of difference; Third World subjects are recognized as different, on the one hand, whereas development is precisely the mechanism through which that difference is to be obliterated, on the other. That this dynamic of recognition and disavowal of difference is endlessly re-enacted in each project or strategy is not only a reflection of the failure of development to fulfill its promise but an essential feature of the development enterprise. If the colonial encounter determined the power structure in which anthropology took shape, the development encounter has similarly provided the overall context for contemporary anthropology. (Escobar 1997:497)
- simultaneous recognition and negation of difference; do these assumptions hold: 1) economic growth is vital for a society, and 2) something is missing from a society that needs development, that something being social, economic, cultural (i.e., education, infrastructure, gender equality, etc.); implicit then is a comparison with “the developed,” where development essentially pushes people to be “more like us”
- this then makes front and center the anthropological project; anthropologists in development as cultural brokers
- power inequality and hierarchical reinforcement then is an implicit part of the development enterprise; problems in failure of development projects; shift from economic growth to addressing needs of people: proverty-oriented programming
- issue of discourse: while there are materialist goals in development project, development itself as an ideology (an ideology that is visible in discourse) makes particular arguments for the way the world should be and reinforces particular types of authority (i.e., “scientific authority”); this tendency tends to obscure the historical specificity of the rise of development (i.e., Cold War politics) and in essence rejects cultural relativity; development discourse is ethnocentric
- While economic and social changes resulting from development interventions can cause problems in local societies throughout the world, one of the most damaging outcomes are the “cultural dislocations” that cause problems in identity.
How are anthropologists trying to correct some of these failures of development?
- trying to give more voice to local people, the subjects of development; emphasis on “local knowledge”; grassroots approaches
- trying to give more focus on local beliefs; see example of the Makah
- trying to include other forms of knowledge in development discourse – for example, gendered knowledge; gender and development, understanding the male bias in development (and in our own culture) (example of micro-credit, Grameen Bank)
- dialogue with community activists; responses to cultural change; green revolution, GMO foods, McDonalds, ADM, and the Slow Food Movement – the politics of change
- trying to better understand globalization and cultural change– this is what we will be examining for the rest of the term
The problem of development is the analytical problem of globalization – what is the connection between the global and the local?