Escobar, A. (1995). Encountering development : the making and unmaking of the Third World. Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press.
Goal: “That the essential trait of the Third World was its poverty and that the solution was economic growth and development became self-evident, necessary, and universal truths. This chapter analyzes the multiple processes that made possible this particular historical event.” (24)
Method: Escobar uses an historical approach to understand the origins, development, and effects of the discourse of development.
Main Argument: 1) Development conceives social life as a technical problem to be entrusted to development professionals, 2) the development discourse is a real historical formation articulated around an artificial construct, 3) development is a “top-down, ethnocentric, and technocratic approach, which treated peoples and cultures as abstract concepts, statistical figures to be moved up and down charts of ‘progress’” (44).
• early post-World War II “discovery” of poverty - “war on poverty” - “The discourse of war was displaced onto the social domain and to a new geographical terrain: the Third World.” (21).
• relationship between capitalism, a rupture of community ties, and poverty: “Whatever these traditional ways might have been, and without idealizing them, it is true that massive poverty in the modern sense appeared only when the spread of the market economy broke down community ties and deprived millions of people from access to land, water, and other resources. With the consolidation of capitalism, systemic pauperization became inevitable.” (22)
• the poor became “the assisted” : “The transformation of the poor into the assisted had profound consequences. This ‘modernization’ of poverty signified not only the rupture of vernacular relations but also the setting in place of new mechanisms of control.” (22)
• the poor became objects of