Discourse Ks – Gonzaga Debate Institute 14

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Discourse Ks – Gonzaga Debate Institute 14



1AC’s use of “development” presumes a natural state and model for progressive change that locks in exploitation

Cleaver, Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Texas at Austin 1995

[Harry M., 30 Apr 1995, University of Waterloo, “NAFTA, Capitalism and Alternatives, Debate, VIII/1,” https://cs.uwaterloo.ca/~alopez-o/politics/NAFTAmail/msg00023.html, accessed 7-5-14, J.J.]

The problem is with the word "development". This term assumes that there is some natural "progressive" form of social change ("development" implies a perfect "natural" state that beings are attaining--such as a human child "developing" into an adult), and the "model" always seems to be whatever happens to be the most "advanced" society at the time--ignoring all moral and practical questions about what we mean by "advancement". So, several years ago, when socialism still seemed to be "advanced", people thought there were "two models of development". Now, by the same twisted logic there is only one. But this presumes that "capitalism" IS "development" and thus a priori "good". Can we escape from this logic? I don't know.

John: I agree that, at least at level of the choice of language, there is a real problem with using the word "development". The problem is above all its heavy, historically accumulated, load of ambiguity. The word has meant so many things to so many different people, that when we use the word we wind up talking about the word instead of what we want to be talking about, namely how peoples lives can be made better, or what is preventing them from achieving such improvement (however defined). There is a very nice essay by Gustavo Esteva on the problems associated with this word "development" in a book I have refered to before: Wolfgang Sachs (ed) THE DEVELOPMENT DICTIONARY, London:Zed, 1992. Among other points, Gustavo make one which you do: that the concept development has increasingly been associated with movement toward some ideal model. He traces the evolution from its biological origins through its application to the social sphere in the 18th Century to the present. His primary concern, however, is the use of the term in the Post WWII era as "development" became the goal and "underdevelopment" the scourge of humankind. In a paper I wrote for a conference in Mexico some years back (1985, just after the earthquake), I discussed another of your points, namely that part of the Cold War involved a struggle between "two models of development", i.e., capitalist and socialist, but argued, as I have been doing in this thread, that the two models were really only variations on a common core and neither led anywhere beyond the current morass of exploitation, brutality and suffering with which we are all too familiar.

Vote negative to refuse the affirmative’s myth of development.

Rahnema, Fmr. UN ambassador and professor @ American University of Paris, 1997 [Majid, ‘Towards Post-Development: Searching for Signposts, a New Language and New Paradigms’, The Post-Development Reader]
If the post-development era is to be free of the illusions, ideological perversions, hypocrisy and falsehoods that pervaded the development world, the search for signposts and trails leading to a flow of 'good life' (the fidnaal° in Dadacha's language) should be informed by an entirely new rationale and set of assumptions. This should help, at the local and transnational levels, the jen and the min to rediscover themselves, to learn from each other, to explore new possibilities of dialogue and action, and to weave together relationships of a different kind, transcending the present barriers of language, and thereby going beyond the paradigms that the development era has so persistently maintained for the last fifty years. The search for new possibilities of change. The end of development should not be seen as an end to the search for new possibilities of change, for a relational world of friendship, or for genuine processes of regeneration able to give birth to new forms of solidarity. It should only mean that the binary, the mechanistic, the reductionist, the inhumane and the ultimately self-destructive approach to change is over. It should represent a call to the 'good people' everywhere to think and work together. It should prompt everyone to begin the genuine work of self-knowledge and `self polishing' (as the ahle sayqal do, according to Rilrni), an exercise that enables us to listen more carefully to others, in particular to friends who are ready to do the same thing. It could be the beginning of a long process aiming at replacing the present 'clis-order' by an 'aesthetic order' based on respect for differences and the uniqueness of every single person and culture. On powerlessness and the 'mask of love' A first condition for such a search is to look at things as they are, rather than as we want them to be; to overcome our fears of the unknown; and, instead of claiming to be able to change the world and to save 'humanity', to try saving ourselves from our own compelling need for comforting illusions. The hubris of the modern individual has led him or her to believe that the existential powerlessness of humankind can usefully be replaced with compulsive ‘actomania'. This illusion is similar to the modern obsession with fighting death at all costs. Both compulsions tend, in fact, to undermine, disfigure and eventually destroy the only forms of power that define true life. Paradoxically, it is through fully experiencing our powerlessness, as painful as that may be, that it becomes possible for us to be in tune with human suffering, in all its manifestations; to understand the 'power of the powerless' (to use Vaclay Havel's expression); and to rediscover our oneness with all those in pain. Blinkered by the Promethean myth of Progress, development called on all the 'powerless' people to join in a world-wide crusade against the very idea of powerlessness, building its own power of seduction and conviction on the mass production of new illusions. It designed for every taste a 'mask of love' — an expression coined by John McKnight" to define the modern notion of ‘care' — which various 'developers' could deploy when inviting new recruits to join the crusade. It is because development incarnated a false love for an abstract humanity that it ended up by upsetting the lives of millions of living human beings. For half a century its 'target populations' suffered the intrusion in their lives of an army of development teachers and experts, including well-intentioned field workers and activists, who spoke big words — from conscientization to learning from and living with the people. Often they had studied Marx, Gramsci, Freire and the latest research about empowerment and participation. However, their lives (and often careers) seldom allowed them to enter the intimate world of their 'target populations'. They were good at giving people passionate lectures about their rights, their entitlements, the class struggle and land reform. Yet few asked themselves about the deeper motivations prompting them to do what they were doing. Often they knew neither the people they were working with, nor themselves. And they were so busy achieving what they thought they had to do for the people, that they could not learn enough from them about how actually to 'care' for them, as they would for their closest relatives and friends whom they knew and loved. My intention in bringing up this point is not to blame such activists or field workers — many of them may have been kind and loving persons. It is, rather, to make the point that 'the masks of love' to which they became addicted prevented them discovering the extraordinary redeeming power of human powerlessness, when it opens one's soul to the world of true love and compassion. Similar 'masks of love' have now destroyed the possibilities of our truly `caring'. Thus, when we hear about the massacres in Algeria, Rwanda, Zaire, the Middle East or Bosnia, or the innumerable children, women and men dying from starvation, or being tortured and killed with impunity, we feel comforted and relieved when we send a cheque to the right organization or demonstrate on their behalf in the streets. And although we are fully aware that such gestures are, at very best, like distributing aspirin pills to dying people whom nothing can save; although we may have doubts as to whether our money will reach the victims, or fears that it might even ultimately serve those governments, institutions or interests who are responsible for this suffering; we continue to do these things. We continue to cheat ourselves, because we consider it not decent, not morally justifiable, not 'politically correct', to do otherwise. Such gestures, which we insist on calling acts of solidarity rather than ‘charity', may however be explained differently: by the great fear we have of becoming fully aware of our powerlessness in situations when nothing can be done. And yet this is perhaps the most authentic way of rediscovering our oneness with those in pain. For the experiencing of our powerlessness can lead us to encounter the kind of deep and redeeming suffering that provides entry to the world of compassion and discovery of our true limits and possibilities. It can also be the first step in the direction of starting a truthful relationship with the world, as it is. Finally, it can help us understand this very simple tautology: that no one is in a position to do more than one can. As one humbly recognizes this limitation, and learns to free oneself from the egocentric illusions inculcated by the Promethean myth, one discovers the secrets of a power of a different quality: that genuine and extraordinary power that enables a tiny seed, in all its difference and uniqueness, to start its journey into the unknown.

“Development Discourse Bad” 

Development discourse

Cornwall, Professor of Anthropology & Development at University of Sussex, & Eade, International Development and Humanitarian Fields Writer, 2010

[Andrea & Deborah, 01 Nov 2010, Deconstructing Development Discourse Buzzwords and Fuzzwords, p. 1, Oxfam GB, http://www.guystanding.com/files/documents/Deconstructing-development-buzzwords.pdf, accessed 7-5-14, J.J.]

Words make worlds. The language of development defines worlds-in-the-making, animating and justifying intervention in currently existing worlds with fulsome promises of the possible. Wolfgang Sachs contends, ‘development is much more than just a socio-economic endeavor; it is a perception which models reality, a myth which comforts societies, and a fantasy which unleashes passions’ (1992:1). These models, myths, and passions are sustained by development’s ‘buzzwords’. Writing from diverse locations, contributors to this volume critically examine a selection of the words that constitute today’s development lexicon. Whereas those who contributed to Sachs’ 1992 landmark publication The Development Dictionary shared a project of dismantling the edifice of development, this collection is deliberately eclectic in its range of voices, positions, and perspectives. Some tell tales of the trajectories that these words have travelled, as they have moved from one domain of discourse to another; others describe scenes in which the ironies – absurdities, at times – of their usage beg closer critical attention; others still peel off the multiple guises that their words have assumed, and analyze the dissonant agendas that they embrace. Our intention in bringing them together is to leave you, the reader, feeling less than equivocal about taking for granted the words that frame the world-making projects of the development enterprise


Alternative problematizes the discourse of development

Naz, Research Associate, Centre for Development Governance, Dhaka Bangaldesh, ‘06

[Farzana, July-September, CDRB Publication, “ARTURO ESCOBAR AND THE DEVELOPMENT DISCOURSE: AN OVERVIEW,” http://www.cdrb.org/journal/2006/3/4.pdf, accessed: July 5, 2014, KEC]

The approach of this study draws in particular on the insights of Michel Foucault, whose forceful articulation of an intrinsic and irreversible relationship between power and knowledge is of immense value to the analysis of development and North-South relations. According to Foucault, power and knowledge are intimately connected and directly imply one another, so that ‘there is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations (1991: 27). This close relationship between power and knowledge alerts us to the fact that the problematization of a particular aspect of human life is not natural or inevitable, but historically contingent and dependent on power relations that have already rendered a particular topic a legitimate object of investigation. Underdevelopment and poverty, in other words, do not exist as Platonic forms; they are discursive constructs and their constitution as objects of scientific enquiry can be understood only in the context of the prevailing balance of forces at the time of their formation. An analysis informed by such insights does not accept at face value any particular categorisation of the world, but seeks instead to establish how certain representations became dominant and acquired the position to shape the ways in which an aspect of social reality is imagined and acted upon. As Escobar (1995) argues, thinking about development in terms of discourse enables us to maintain a focus on power and domination, while at the same time exploring the discourse’s conditions of possibility as well as its effects. It allows us to ‘stand detached from [development], bracketing its familiarity, in order to analyse the theoretical and practical context with which it has been associated’ (Foucault, 1986: 3). In other words, development emerges as culturally and historically contingent, and the focus shifts from ‘what is’ to how subjects are formed within this discourse as developed and underdeveloped. This conception of the relationship between power and knowledge enables us to expose the political and strategic nature of discourse previously regarded as existing independently of power relations by virtue of their presumed scientific nature, and to ask instead ‘whom does discourse serve?’ (Foucault, 1980: 115).

Impact: Colonialism

Development is colonial and seeks to finish the West’s model of colonialism

Biccum, Assistant Professor of History at the Public Affairs Center Wesleyan, 2002

[April R., 2002, “Interrupting the Discourse of Development: On a Collision Course with Postcolonial Theory”, Culture, Theory & Critique, 43 (1), Taylor & Francis Ltd., accessed 7-5-14, J.J.]

There is no consensus in the field of Postcolonial Studies either about its object of study or the terminology it uses to describe both itself and its various objects. The field can be loosely characterised as a series of debates around who is `postcolonial’, when is the `postcolonial’, and what it means to be `postcolonial’. In a recent article in Third World Quarterly entitled `Development Studies and Postcolonial Studies: Disparate Tales of the Third World’, Christine Sylvester (1999) notes the complete lack of critical engagement between Development Studies (which I would extend to include Political Studies in general) and Postcolonial Studies. Sylvester proposes that there is a gap where these two fields of inquiry could fruitfully be brought into conversation with one another. She points out that, where Development Studies as a discipline is historically unapologetic in its Eurocentrism, Postcolonial Studies has in recent years come under fire for its theoretical self- reflexivity and lack of political engagement. According to Arturo Escobar, the number of `third-world’ voices calling for a dismantling of the entire discourse of Development is fast increasing (Escobar 1995: 15). And as Sylvester points out, most of today’s Development work either makes no mention of the colonial period or makes no apology for it [. . .] One gets the impression that the structural adjustment wing of mainstream Development studies aims to finish once and for all the task of fitting the colonies to the still-modern models of Western political economy. (Sylvester 1999: 717).

The discourse of development leads to a dominant framing of certain countries and areas over others, and portrays some as the “rescuer”

Naz, Research Associate, Centre for Development Governance, Dhaka Bangaldesh, ‘06

[Farzana, July-September, CDRB Publication, “ARTURO ESCOBAR AND THE DEVELOPMENT DISCOURSE: AN OVERVIEW,” http://www.cdrb.org/journal/2006/3/4.pdf, accessed: July 5, 2014, KEC]

The order of discourse is telling. ‘Underdeveloped areas’ are portrayed as passive, as victims of diseases, poverty and stagnation. Their inertia stands in sharp contrast to the dynamism and vitality of the ‘developed areas’, and the USA in particular. These areas can embark upon ‘bold programmes’, and their technical knowledge and scientific advances are constantly expanding, always reaching new highs. This in turn enables them to rescue the ‘underdeveloped areas’ from their ‘misery’, to deliver them from their primitiveness to modernity; to the era of ‘technical knowledge’, ‘scientific advances’, ‘greater production’, and ‘personal freedom and happiness for all mankind’.

Impact: White Supremacy

Development logics extend white supremacy

Biccum, Assistant Professor of History at the Public Affairs Center Wesleyan, 2002

[April R., 2002, “Interrupting the Discourse of Development: On a Collision Course with Postcolonial Theory”, Culture, Theory & Critique, 43 (1), Taylor & Francis Ltd., accessed 7-5-14, J.J.]

Richard Dyer in White theorises the mechanisms of white supremacy as an idea which rests upon the paradox of being at once both present and absent, both of the body and transcending the body, `never reducible to the corporeal’ (Dyer 1997: 14) and yet fully able to organize the material into projects of imperialism. In his words: `it has enterprise’ (Dyer 1997: 15). Dyer gives a thumbnail sketch of the `white’ or `white supremacist’ ideal which registers itself as a dynamic of aspiration and transcendence whereby material achievement can be construed as the temporary and partial triumph of mind over matter, the progressive, developmental nature of which is of necessity continually deferred. Dyer identifies in the dualistic nature of whiteness, the control of mind over body, that the appeal to the non- corporeal, the disembodied enterprise of whiteness, is a threat to its reproduction. `The very thing that makes us [sic] white [that is, control, aspiration and asexual disembodiment] endangers the reproduction of whiteness’ (Dyer 1997: 27). Whiteness and the West need to reproduce themselves without being `contaminated’ at the level of the body. The trope of enterprise comprises the characteristics of energy, will (control of self and others), ambition and the ability to `see things through’. The effects of enterprise are `discovery’, science, business, wealth creation, the building of nations, the organization of labor, in a word, Development.
Biccum, Assistant Professor of History at the Public Affairs Center Wesleyan, 2002

[April R., 2002, “Interrupting the Discourse of Development: On a Collision Course with Postcolonial Theory”, Culture, Theory & Critique, 43 (1), Taylor & Francis Ltd., accessed 7-5-14, J.J.]

The ambivalence around reproduction and what I have called the politics of not resembling rest upon the fact the un/underdevelopment of the `third world’ is a reminder to the `developed world’ of all that it needs in order continually to reproduce itself. And yet the logic of modernity demands that Development spread the world over, so that when the `third world’ persistently does not resemble the `first’, it gives the lie to the notion of universal Development. The result is that this failure to resemble becomes a source of deep anxiety to the Western episteme because the logic of a universal subjectivity, the unquestionable value of Development and the spread of the Western model necessitate that the `third world’ resemble the `first’. This notion of an inevitable enterprisethe figure of a universal humanity to be realized in the providently and fatefully sanctioned enterprises of `white’/ European peopleworks in the context of Development theory if and only if the necessity of colonial conquest, the violent necessity of subordination, is written out of the equation. Herein lies a second aspect which undermines the `myth of historical origination— racial purity, cultural priority’ in the inevitable/necessary tension. At the heart of white supremacy and the Western telos is anxiety for a non-existent originary presence. It is for this reason that the figure of the colonial moment, when it is actively, purposefully remembered and theorized together with the figures of modernity and Development, can serve to shatter the illusion of Western supremacy culminating in Development. The strategy of thinking together reveals the absurdity of the project of global Development and thereby the staging of the historicist narrative becomes exposed. The critique of modernity articulated by Postcolonial Studies— that it is a teleological self-construction predicated on the principle of an elision— has the potential to deconstruct and dismantle the entire idea of `Development’ and hold neo-classical, liberal, neo-liberal and some Marxist strands of Development thinking accountable for their complicity in the continuities in global power.

AT: Permutation

Development and colonial discourse is linked, it assumes there is a “less developed”, which is problematic

Biccum, Assistant Professor of History at the Public Affairs Center Wesleyan, 2002

[April R., 2002, “Interrupting the Discourse of Development: On a Collision Course with Postcolonial Theory”, Culture, Theory & Critique, 43 (1), Taylor & Francis Ltd., accessed 7-5-14, J.J.]

Arturo Escobar's thesis in Encountering Development: The Making and Unmasking of the Third World is that the discourse of Development is a discursive construct which produces its object - the 'third world' (Escobar I995: 11). Escobar comes close to concretising the link between Development and colonial discourse and makes use of Homi Bhabha’s description of colonial discourse, making the crucial point that the construction of the 'third world' ii Development literature is a process of the recognition and construction of difference and is subsequent disavowal. He argue:

Development assumes a teleology to the extent that it proposes that the 'native' will sooner or later be reformed; at the same time, however, it reproduce endlessly the separation between reformers and those to be reformed by keeping alive the premise of the 'Third World' as different and interior, as having a limited humanity in relation to the accomplished European. Development relies on this perpetual recognition and disavowal of difference. (Escobar 1995: 53)

Development constitutes itself via the creation of degenerative type which it can then treat and reform (Escobar 1995: 41). The category 'less developed' becomes a trope within Development literature which assumes the existence of an aboriginal economy, a peasant population with 'traditional' modes of agricultural production, and a national economy whose task it is the national government's to develop (Escobar 1995: 47).

AT: Case Outweighs/Prefer Specificity – Takes out Solvency

The term development excludes and delegitimizes certain interventions and practices. It is a prior question to evaluating the legitimacy of evidence.

Crush, CIGI chair in global migration and development at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, ‘95

[Jonathan, Power of Development, page 5, KEC]

The texts of development have always been avowedly strategic and tactical- promoting, licensing, and justifying certain interventions and practices, delegitimizing and excluding others. An interest in how the texts of development write and represent the world is therefore, by extension, an interest in how they interact with the strategies and tactics of their authors and with those who loan them authority. What is expertise, after all? And why is there so much of it inside of what James Ferguson (1990) aptly calls ‘the development machine’? Why does expertise license certain forms of speech and not others? What do the texts of development not say? What do they suppress? Who do they silence- and why?

Analysis of discourse of development is prior question - Development gives objects and concepts an order, allowing some to be thought and said while excluding others. This discourse is a prior question to any action.

Naz, Research Associate, Centre for Development Governance, Dhaka Bangaldesh, ‘06

[Farzana, July-September, CDRB Publication, “ARTURO ESCOBAR AND THE DEVELOPMENT DISCOURSE: AN OVERVIEW,” http://www.cdrb.org/journal/2006/3/4.pdf, accessed: July 5, 2014, KEC]

To A. Escobar, development was not merely the result of the combination, study, or gradual elaboration of the elements (some of these topics had existed for some time: capita! formation, technology, population and resources, monetary and fiscal policies etc.); nor the product of the introduction of new ideas (some of which were appearing or perhaps were bound to appear); nor the effect of the new international organizations or financial institutions (e.g., the UN, World Bank and IMP which had some predecessors such as the League of Nations). It was rather the result of the establishment of a set of relations among these elements, institutions and practices and of the systematization of these relations to form a whole. And the development discourse was constituted not by the array of possible objects under its domain but by the way in which it was able to form systematically the objects of which it spoke, to group them and arrange them in certain ways, and to give them a unity of their own. To understand development as discourse, one must look not at the elements themselves but at the system of relations established among them. It is this system that allows the systematic creation of objects, concepts, and strategies; it determines what can be thought and said. These relations - established between institutions, socio-economic processes, forms of knowledge, technological factors and so on - define the conditions under which objects, concepts, theories, and strategies can be incorporated into the discourse (ibid, pp. 40-41).

AT: Alternative Can’t Solve Aff/Aff DA to Alt.

Naz, Research Associate, Centre for Development Governance, Dhaka Bangaldesh, ‘06

[Farzana, July-September, CDRB Publication, “ARTURO ESCOBAR AND THE DEVELOPMENT DISCOURSE: AN OVERVIEW,” http://www.cdrb.org/journal/2006/3/4.pdf, accessed: July 5, 2014, KEC]

Edward Said argues in the introduction to Orientalism that there is ‘no such thing as a delivered presence; there is only a re-presence, or a representation’ (1979: 21). The study of development has traditionally paid little attention to the politics of representation, as the practical challenges of development have been perceived as far too urgent to allow for a ‘purely academic’ or even esoteric concern with words and discourse. A focus on representation, however, does not ,deny the existence of a material world or the very real experience of poverty and suffering by millions of people. Nor is an analysis that focuses on discourse by its nature any less motivated by a desire to see a world free from human misery than the conventional development text. Instead such analyses suggest that because objects and subjects are constituted as such within discourse, an understanding of the relevant discourses is a necessary part of any attempt to change prevailing conditions and relations of power.

AT: “Sustainable” Development Solves

Ethnocentric values underly the term development. Use of the word requires one to obey certain hegemonic structures

Naz, Research Associate, Centre for Development Governance, Dhaka Bangaldesh, ‘06

[Farzana, July-September, CDRB Publication, “ARTURO ESCOBAR AND THE DEVELOPMENT DISCOURSE: AN OVERVIEW,” http://www.cdrb.org/journal/2006/3/4.pdf, accessed: July 5, 2014, KEC]

In his book Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World, Arturo Escobar has given us an important and exciting take on issues of Third World development and its altel11atives. He indisputably provides some exciting and significant new insights along with the Western models to achieve the so-dreamed “development”. Although the results of these western-driven interventions over decades have usually been catastrophic for Third World’s populations and cultures, Western ‘experts’ keep coming to the Third World and elaborating new forms of discourses on development, now addressing objects like sustainable development, women and development and poverty eradication – all ethnocentric and based on western values.

In Arturo Escobar’s (1995: 17-18) words, the emergence and consolidation of the discourse and strategy of development in the early post-World War II period, as a result of the problematization of poverty that took place during those years. It presents the major historical conditions that made such a process possible and identifies the principal mechanisms through which development has been deployed... to speak development, one must adhere to certain rules of statement that go back to the basic system of categories and relations that defines the hegemonic worldview of development, a worldview that increasingly permeates and transforms the economic, social, and cultural fabric of third world cities and villages, even if the languages of development are always adapted and reworked significantly at the local level.

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