How Does Development Be Understood As An Anti Politics Machine

992 Words Nov 8th, 2015 4 Pages
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 to Ferguson, the impression that “the state is just a machine for implementing ‘development’ programs, an apolitical tool for delivering social services and agriculture inputs and engineering economic growth” (Ferguson 1990: 65) is only part of the development discourse, and disguises the fact that development itself works in fact as an ‘anti-politics machine’. That is, development works by “depoliticizing everything it touches, everywhere whisking political realities out of sight, while performing, almost unnoticed, its own pre-eminently political operation of expanding bureaucratic state power” (Ferguson 1990: XV). This expansion of bureaucratic power is ambiguously defined in Ferguson’s book, as he first regards it as an…

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