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Deconstructing Development Discourse

Edited By Andrea Cornwall,Deborah Eade
ISBN: 9781853397066
Writing from diverse locations, contributors critically examine some of the key terms in current development discourse. The reflections included here raise major questions about how we think about development itself.

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  • Synopsis
    Writing from diverse locations, contributors critically examine some of the key terms in current development discourse. Why should language matter to those who are doing development? Surely, there are more urgent things to do than sit around mulling over semantics? But language does matter. Whether emptied of their original meaning, essentially vacuous, or hotly contested, the language of development not only shapes our imagined worlds, but also justifies interventions in real people’s lives. If development buzzwords conceal ideological differences or sloppy thinking, then the process of constructive deconstruction makes it possible to re-examine what have become catchall terms like civil society and poverty reduction, or bland aid-agency terms such as partnership or empowerment. Such engagement is far more than a matter of playing word games. The reflections included here raise major questions about how we think about development itself.
  • Table of Contents
    Preface (Deborah Eade)
    1. Introductory overview (Andrea Cornwall)
    2. Development as a buzzword (Gilbert Rist)
    3. Words count (Naomi Alfini and Robert Chambers)
    4. Poverty reduction (John Toye)
    5. Social protection (Guy Standing)
    6. Globalisation (Shalmali Guttal)
    7. The F-word and the S-word (Cassandra Balchin)
    8. Participation (Pablo Alejandro Leal)
    9. Citizenship: a perverse confluence (Evelina Dagnino)
    10. Taking the power out of empowerment (Srilatha Batliwala)
    11. Social capital (Ben Fine)
    12. Reflections on relationships (Miguel Pickard)
    13. Talking of gender (Ines Smyth)
    14. Sustainability (Ian Scoones)
    15. From the right to development to the rights-based approach (Peter Uvin)
    16. Civil society (Neera Chandhoke)
    17. Public advocacy and people-centred advocacy (John Samuel)
    18. NGOs: between buzzwords and social movements (Islah Jad)
    19. Capacity building (Deborah Eade)
    20. Harmonisation (Rosalind Eyben)
    21. ‘Country ownership’ (Willem H. Buiter)
    22. Best of practices? (Warren Feek)
    23. Peacebuilding does not build peace (Tobias Denskus)
    24. The uncertain relationship between transparency and accountability (Jonathan Fox)
    25. Corruption (Elizabeth Harrison)
    26. ‘Good governance’ (Thandika Mkandawire)
    27. The discordant voices of security (Robin Luckham)
    28. Fragile states (Eghosa E. Osaghae)
    29. ‘Knowledge management’ (Robin Broad)
    Coda (Deborah Eade)
  • Endorsements
    ‘This book has emerged from a process that challenged its authors to think “out of the box” of accepted development concepts; to question their continued validity, to speak truth to power. A sparkling addition to the student’s tool-kit, and a sobering call for renewed thinking to long-time development thinkers and practitioners.’ Gita Sen, Professor, Centre for Public Policy, Indian Institute of Management

    ‘An important initiative from two seasoned, refl ective development practitioner scholars. The chapters in this book will prove a real help in teaching Masters students, as well as stimulating me personally towards new research themes. Are you tired of looking in Google Scholar for academic journal articles that present serious issues in a way that engages students? Then this text provides what you are looking for.’ Helen Hintjens, Senior Lecturer in Development and Social Justice, International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague

    ‘Timely and emancipatory and long overdue, this is a dissection of how vocabularies trap us ... These terminologies are the underbelly of the modernisation project which has shackled and burned holes into the aspirations and potential of countries of the South. A must-read for those who are working for justice in the public domain.’ Devaki Jain, Member South commission, founder member DAWN

    ‘With a lightness of touch that belies a deadly seriousness of intent, this book is both a useful guide and a powerful antidote to the dangerous oversimplifi cations of twenty-first century development policy. It is essential reading for researchers, students and development professionals’ David Lewis, Professor of Social Policy and Development, London School of Economics & Political Science

    ‘An exciting, fun and deeply challenging book for all engaged in development. This timely and highly readable edited volume pushes us to peel back the language of development and grapple with issues that really do matter for global social justice. Congratulations to the editors for taking up where Wolfgang Sach’s Development Dictionary left off!’ Wendy Harcourt, Editor of Development, Society for International Development

    ‘As development practice advances on the ground, development discourse becomes more complex. This collection fills the important gap by demystifying the jargon and concepts for practitioners and students of development.’ Rajesh Tandon, President, PRIA, India

    ‘Since its invention post-Second World War, the development industry has cultivated a vast ideological vocabulary to confuse, conceal and mystify the reconstruction by imperial governments of the former colonies to allow super-exploitation by the international oligopolies. Development intellectuals have readily colluded and contributed to this obscurantism. This book goes a long way towards demonstrating the emptiness of development jargon, unveiling the naked emperor.’ Firoze Manji, Editor in Chief, Pambazuka News

    ‘This critical dictionary of development discourse will be enormously useful for those of us who believe that effective communication is essential for positive social change.’ Ricardo Wilson-Grau, independent evaluator, Brazil
  • Details
    Sub Title No
    Author No
    Editor Andrea Cornwall,Deborah Eade
    Number of Pages 336
    Format Paperback / softback
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