Postdevelopment, Professionalism and the Politics of Participation

K McKinnon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Development is a project of hope, guided by the aspiration for greater social justice and emancipation of the poor and disadvantaged in the world. Over the past decade postdevelopment critics have argued that this project of hope has failed, and, instead of creating a fairer world, development can only serve to perpetuate uneven power relationships. Emerging work by postdevelopment authors reinvigorates the positive promise of development as a project toward emancipation and social justice. Discursive practices of development professionals in northern Thailand illustrate how one might conceive of a postdevelopment practice in which aspirations toward social justice and emancipation can coexist alongside the messy realities of development work. Drawing on contemporary discourse theory, Ernesto Laclau's conceptualization of hegemonic struggle provides conceptual tools for thinking beyond the bind of development-as-power. Using hegemony to reimagine development as first and foremost a form of political engagement it becomes possible to imagine viable postdevelopment approaches and strategies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)772-785
    JournalAnnals of the Association of American Geographers
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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