Decolonise Development: Thoughts and Theories
Cambridge Society For Economic Pluralism, 2018
This panel is about discussing the international development discipline from a critical perspective, exploring how the current practice entangles with Eurocentric/neo-colonial thoughts and how can we move beyond them. Professor Cheryl McEwan talks about how “epistemic violence” is embedded within the development studies and how some notions and discourses (e.g. Anthropocence, the narrative that economic growth = modernity = development) are problematic. She also sheds light on the Global North’s ignorance of the Global South’s ideas about development and why listening to the Global South’s voices matters. Dr Hazel Gray presents how New Institutional Economics (directly at the works of Acemoglu & Robinson and Douglas North) misuses and misframes colonialism. She shows how this school of thought, which has become the dominant way of thinking about development, erases colonialism and the associated experiences (e.g. violence, expropriation and dispossession) as a part of the establishment of the “good” institutions suggested by this school. She also points out how this school of thought promotes the project of capitalist myth-making and how it blocks discussions about imaginative activities beyond capitalism.
Comment from our editors:
The discussions going on in this panel, which covers many intriguing areas, provides solid criticisms of the mainstream international development practice. Unfortunately, the first speaker Dr Sian Lazar, asked for her section not to be recorded so part of the live lecture is missing. The Q&A session at the end also offers valuable contributions to this issue.