James Ferguson Anti Political Machine Analysis

To what extent can Development be understood as an “anti-politics machine”?
Nowadays as in the past, many activists in the fields of the human rights approach to development – that James Ferguson regards as “the academic Left” (Ferguson 1990: 269) tout-court – have seen the state as “[…] the chief counter-force to the capitalistic logics of the market and the chief instrument for bringing about progressive economics transformations”, and by doing so “leftists have too often been willing to take statist interventions at their word and to interpret them uncritically as part of a process of ‘self-directed development’ […]” (Ferguson 1990: 269-70). Nothing is farther from Ferguson’s views, contained in his The Anti-Politics Machine (1990). According
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First of all, the Brazilian government made a huge effort to construct the Amazon tribes that opposed the dam project – and Amazon itself – as a particular object of knowledge upon which to impose the development discourse. At the same time, the discourse concealed behind technical jargon and development "buzzwords" the fact that political choices were being made. Furthermore, the role of NGOs have been extremely ambiguous as, despite sharing some objectives with the indigenous tribes, they forced the latter to adopt the development communication style in order to make their requests more effective, and somehow ‘palatable’ for a western audience.
I will develop my argument by focusing on the kind of language and narratives used by the Brazilian agencies to support the construction of Belo Monte plant, and later examine the actions taken by the local communities in response to the government’s claims. My aim is to underline how the indigenous groups were unable to step outside the development discourse imposed by the more powerful actors – namely, the government and its various agencies and the environmentalist

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