Analysis Of The Book ' History Of Development ' By Gilbert Rist

2013 Words 9 Pages
Throughout his book History of Development, Gilbert Rist takes the reader on a journey through development trends, models and theories ranging from Aristotle to the Millennium Development Goals. Although his interests align more with deconstructing the ideas, practices, and dialogue of ‘development’ than attempting an unbiased overview of its history, he sets himself the objective "not to add one more theory to all others formulated so far but, rather, to scrutinize the aura of self-evidence surrounding a concept which is supposed to command universal acceptance but which – as many have doubtless forgotten – was constructed within a particular history and culture" (p. 1-2). Though he is not completely successful in restraining himself in the former, he does spend the majority of the book focused on the latter. This is not merely a study of the shortcomings of development, but, more profoundly, an analysis of the impact of its entirety in reconstructing social practices through the naturalization of history. While Rist’s criticism of development can at times be depressing, with realistic critiques of the political and economic incentives that have driven it, it is also rather controversial in its outlook. As Rist plainly states “The end of the twentieth century, of the vast enterprise that began after the Second World War in both the North and the South, therefore also marked the end of ‘development’” (p. 220). While it remains to be seen if development is truly dead, by…

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