Introduction: Development Theory and Environment in an Age of Market Triumphalism Author(s): Richard Peet and Michael Watts Source: Economic Geography, Vol. 69, No. 3, Environment and Development, Part 1 (Jul., 1993), pp. 227-253 Published by: Clark University Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/143449 . Accessed: 16/05/2013 15:45
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Introduction: Development Theory and Environment in an Age of Market Triumphalism*
School of Geography, Clark University, Worcester, MA 01610
Department of Geography, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720 The world knows much better now what [development] policies work and what policies do not. . . . [Now] we almost [never] hear calls for alternative strategies based on harebrained schemes. (World Bank Official, cited in Broad 1993, 154) Driven by the momentous political and economic changes of the 1980s and by apocalyptic visions of impending global ecological crisis, the environmental question has returned with a vengeance (Turner et al. 1990; World Bank 1992). With the return of the repressed, the language of "sustainability" (however illappearing defined) becomes endemic, with as much frequency in World Bank publications as in the rhetoric of grassroots movements. Further, issues of poverty have become inseparable from the debate; eradidevelopment-environment cating poverty through enhancing and protecting livelihood strategies is as much an environmental sustainability issue as a resource endowment question. The environmental crisis is, in short, a poverty problem (World Bank 1992). An emphasis on nature-society relations in the context of concerns over the growing polarity of world income (UNDP 1992) has emerged in a distinctive fin de
* The editors thank Susanna Hecht, Kent Mathewson, and Davin Ramphall for their help in evaluating the articles contained in this special issue on Environment and Development (Vol. 69, Nos. 3 and 4). Some of the papers derive from a project initiated by Lakshman Yapa and Ben Wisner; their efforts in assembling contributions are much appreciated.
single intellectual and political economic environment. First, the collapse of many actually existing socialisms and the rise of a neoliberal hegemony in policy circles signals for many the exhaustion of a leftist model of development. Second, the resurgence of environmentalist concerns articulated increasingly in terms of their global character (e.g., global warming) has been attached to a revival of the Malthusian specter (World Bank 1992). And third, the rise of political ecology, which offered a powerful Marxist-influenced analysis of resource use and environmental conservation during the 1970s and early 1980s, has increasingly been shaped and challenged by wide-ranging debates within social theory. In the late 1980s and early 1990s post-Marxism and poststructuralism began to more obviously affect this area of scholarship, and the emergence of a kind of postmodern development discourse is one of its products (Slater 1992). Indeed, poststructural concerns with power, discourse, and cultural difference have proven compelling in the rethinking of both development theory and political ecology, as this issue of Economic Geography suggests. We wish to situate the current discussions around development and the environment on this expansive canvas of intellectual and political-economic ferment, and more specifically to provide a broad context, stressing recent poststructural tendencies, for the contributions to this special issue (Vol. 69, No. 3 is Part 1; Vol. 69, No. 4 is Part 2). Four dimensions seem to frame the recent study of environment-development relations: (1) 227
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cultural. and Dewey. ered all mindsto be structurally knowledge potentruthsto be universal. concepts. a special interest of the French philosophical tradition concerns the relation of the Enlightenment. 171)
of truth" constitutthe "political economy of the greatpolitical ingpartof the power Thesediffuse and economic apparatuses. rather than "facts"about reality. even conflicting. Indo-European mythology. for Barnes and Duncan (1992. each society has its regime of truth. but at the cost of political alienation. (3) discussions of
view. regional. and the West
Cogito ergo sum
Poststructural theory's fascination with
discourseoriginatesin its rejectionof of truth. Dreyfus and Rabinow 1982. with its universal truth claims. in a processinfusedwith In the poststructural socialconfrontation. 9) points out.166. the new stress on this relation has stimulated a "relentless anatomization of the collusive forms of European knowledge. Heidegger. Discourse theory came to prominence in the context of a critique of Western rationality. each relevant to a particular realm of social action.228
the debate on rationality. But as Young (1990. truths are statements within socially produced discourses. racial. with control of Wittgenstein. 8). although they may uneasily coexist within relatively stable ("hegemonic") discursive formations. and other differing interests. ideologies and signifying practices.
in the modern form "truth. particularly that version which
Western as a specifically sees rationality mode of thinkingcentralto an underas ofwhathascometo be known standing Discourse Theory of develop(2)a mapping "development". the mythos of his idiom. to European colonialism. and discourse.
lines of researchand debate within a and (4) ecology. discourses are "frameworksthat embrace particular combinations of narratives. definedpolitical broadly of socialand environrecentdiscussions mental movementsthat redefinetheir We surveyeach in causesand contents. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. conversation For nature. for the universal form
This content downloaded from 200. Concerned with a given range of objects.Following argues converselythat the notion of shouldbe as representation knowledge without of knowledge in favor abandoned as a matterof foundations: "knowledge rather andof social practice."particularly of "scientific discourse. similar. 1973." through the
social body. his own logos. Significations and meanings are integral parts of discourses just as. that is. Discourse. the postmodern philosopher Rorty (1979.In modern modern conceptions truthresides in the corresponphilosophy and reality anexternalized dencebetween of that internalmental representations considphilosophy Enlightenment reality. Hence. Western rationality's claim to universal validity is "a mirage associated with economic domination and political hegemony" (Foucault 1980." to mirror thanas an attempt
Foucault (1972. it emphasizes some concepts at the expense of others." Discourses vary among what are often competing. the meaning of words depends on where a statement containing them is made (Macdonnell 1986. gender.76. for example. statement Rationality. 1-4). Foucault saw reason as dogmatic and despotic.213):"Metaphysics-the white mythology which reassembles and reflects the culture of the West: the white man takes his own mythology.
standpoint. Rabinow 1986). Horkheimer and Adorno (1991) found European rationality liberating." Hence Derrida (1971. 1980. class.253 on Thu. truth. A "discourse" is a particular area of mentideasas a meansfor understanding language use related to a certain set of in importantshifts and realignments during institutions and expressing a particular theoryand practice development
the 1980s and 1990s. 54). then. tiallythe same for everyone. turn before concludingwith a brief of position.
as "its other"). an instrumentalist relation between power and knowledge. discourse." In this view. and the global system of power relations led poststructural discourse theory in interesting directions. scholarship.76. the Orient was not. Said's (1979) Orientalism. even colonial bureaucracies and colonial styles" (Said 1979. argues that "the Orient" helped define Europe as its contrasting image. and is not. One of these is the idea that regional discursive traditions are capable of capturing even oppositional modes of thought. some of which we will briefly pursue. idea. and geographic sectors like Orient and Occident to be humanly "made. Simply put. and colonial power itself has a conflictual economyhence colonial stereotyping of subject peoples is a complex. Orientalism is a "mode of discourse with supporting institutions.DEVELOPMENT THEORY AND ENVIRONMENT
of that he must still wish to call Reason. regions. The Collusive Dialectic The connections between rationality. Marxism's universalizing narrative of the unfolding of a rational system of world history is seen as a negative form of the history of European imperialism and hence a conceptual system that remains collusively Eurocentric. contradictory mode of representation. 2) through which European culture was able to "produce"the Orient (politically.e. Discursive Relations A second (related) theme of particularly geographic interest involves the expansion of the social production of regional discourse through reflection on the other
to a critique of discursive relations between hegemonic and dominated regions. imagery. Said finds localities. ambivalent. in a word. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. imaginatively. Said has been criticized for assuming a singular political-ideological European intention (imperial possession). a free subject of thought or action. truth. may be exposed as Eurocentric. The outstanding exemplar of the critique of European discourses on the nonEuropean other. representations of the Orient in Western discourse evidence a profound ambivalence toward "that otherness which is at once an object of dislike and derision. as anxious
This content downloaded from 200. vocabulary. doctrines. and seek a knowledge that respects the other without absorbing it.253 on Thu."Young (1990. We comment critically on this version of dialectical totality in our conclusion. perhaps the main logic of critical thinking. is ideological. Todorov 1987) and. Extending to geography Vico's observation that humans make their own history based on what they know." Subsequent work extends this notion of "discourse on the other" to European conceptions of the Americas (Hulme 1986. and so forth) in the post-Enlightenment period. For Bhaba (1983b." Colonial discourse is founded on anxiety. It is from such a position that poststructural-postmodern thinkers distrust "totalizing" systems of knowledge. stress the singular and contingent. enlightenment reason is a regional logic reflecting a history of growing global supremacy rather than a universal path to absolute truth.." In this view. so that: "Hegel articulates a philosophical structure of the appropriation of the other as a form of knowledge which uncannily simulates the project of nineteenth century imperialism. More can be learned about this project from discussions appearing subsequent to Said's main work and playing on it. and experience (i. to a history of the different European conceptions ("science fictions") of "alien cultures" (McGrane 1989). in an ambitious study. the argument is that the Hegelian-Marxist dialectic (presumed to lie squarely in the European Enlightenment tradition) expresses a self searching for power over that which is "other. Reason. so that the dialectic. personality. 19). Because of the limitations on thought and action imposed by this discourse. 2-3) argues that this theorizes a system of European domination over the colonial world. conversely. and a monolithic conception of the discourse of Orientalism (Bhaba 1983a).166.
from which. From this she reaches the extreme. and gender. the subaltern will be narrativized in theoretically alternative. however. in that through them poststructural theory is linked more directly than usual to the causes of oppressed peoples. We find particularly suggestive the connection between centralized power articulated through hegemonic discourses and the discourses of dominated peoples.166. controversial. the geographic dimensions of power relations. Certain modes of thought. and in what ways. we find these specific positions attractive. but see also Foucault 1980. descriptions of real people. Guha's (1983. the most significant outcome of this revision is that "the agency of change is located in the insurgent or the 'subaltern. For Spivak (1987. Lowe 1991). and unresolved issue is whether.76. revolt was often derived through inversion (as with the fight for prestige). Spivak's alternative to the project of retrieving consciousness involves the Foucauldian (and structuralist) notion of subjectpositions. position that subaltern women have no subject position from which to speak: "the subaltern cannot speak" (Spivak 1988. Gramsci 1971. styles of expression. Spivak seeks to reinscribe the multiple. however. Subaltern Discourse A third complex. intervention. appearing in a variety of
This content downloaded from 200. logics. his main theme being negation-the peasant's subaltern identity includes an imposed negative consciousness. xv). but politically similar."' Spivak (1987. subjectpositions assigned by colonial relations of control and insurgency. so that a subaltern woman. and often contradictory. and for us indefensible. and resistance (Bhaba 1985). enabling subversion. While remaining ambivalent overall. Something like this is the aim of the subaltern studies group (Guha and Spivak 1988). subverting the identity of that which is being represented.253 on Thu. following Gramsci. 206-7). Guha tries to identify what. vii). 2-3) argument is that colonial historiography denied the peasant recognition as a subject of history. Acknowledging peasants as makers of rebellion means attributing to them a consciousness (cf. in which the "subject" of a statement is not its immediate author but "a particular. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Furthermore. he calls the (recurring) elementary aspects in rebel consciousness. Ranajit Guha's original position combined Gramscian Marxismwith Foucauldian discourse theory in a study of peasant insurgency in colonial India. for example." Likewise. if at all.230
as it is assertive. For Baudet (1965. but rather projections of his own nostalgia and feelings of inadequacy. therefore: "the European images of nonEuropean man are not primarily. discourse theory can recover the voices of oppressed peoples. themes. 95. 197). ways (MacCabe 1987. modernist notions of subjectivity and consciousness are left unexamined. vacant place that may in fact be filled by different individuals" (Foucault 1972. and the relentless critique of everything that exists. We would theorize this in terms of what might be called regional discursive formations (cf. ethnicity. 196-97). Regional Discursive Formations These three themes hardly exhaust the potentials of the various poststructural versions of discourse theory. Bhaba (1984) argues that when colonized people become "European" the resemblance is both familiar and menacing to the colonists. is subjected to three main domination systems: class. and typical metaphors run through the discursive history of a region. sees the subaltern studies group's attempt to retrieve a subaltern or peasant consciousness as a strategic adherence to essentialist and
humanist notions that can be subjected to an antihumanist critique even as the subaltern group draws many of its strengths from that critique. 308). 53). in an analysis of mimicry. As long as Western. the hybrid that articulates colonial and native knowledges may reverse the process of domination as repressed knowledges enter subliminally.
We would argue that regional discursive formations originate in. World Bank 1989. because it was based on poorly
adapted foreign models.(emphasisadded. decentralization and sound environmental practices.166.
. has as its dynamic theme the core concept of "development. its partial and limited interpretation of sustainability. The Western. In a regional discursive formation even competing notions often use the same metaphors.36). hence their links to what might be called a cartography of development discourses. The "new" World Bank approach may be contested at many levels: its ability to rewrite history to suit the bank's own ideological purpose.. vivid oppositional images. its flimsy commitment to the environment. but the hegemonic itself also shifts to incorporate particularly insightful. element in discursive formation.however. is the desire to release energies that permit
"ordinary people . says the bank. Could the World Bank really have embraced the popular energies of "ordinary people" in the name of sustainable development alternatives? At the heart of its long-term strategy. . . The vision was couched in the idiom of modernization. environmental sustainability: this is not a lexicon typically associated with the most influential advocate of global capitalist development.They give primacyto agricultural development. We find particularlyrelevant to the geographic imagination theoretical notions dealing with the power-saturated interactions and interchanges between regional discursive formations." In the following section we map out recent tendencies in the content and meaning of this concept as a case study of the general notion of regional discursive formations. disappearing occasionally. Hence oppositional positions may be partly captured by hegemonic discourses. silences. The first
their lives" (emphasis added. grassroots participation. . interpret in similar ways.
In recentyears. . and emphasize not only prices. and so on..
generation after independence assumed that developmentmeant achievingNorthern standards of living. to take charge of
Mapping Development Discourse: A Cartography of Power
Any new long-termstrategy.DEVELOPMENT THEORY AND ENVIRONMENT
forms. but that discursive formations grounded in material.to be credible.76. and in science and technology. as important for the topics and themes it disallows-its absences. The time has come to put
them fully into practice. certain physical. Unlike the bank.
failed . . We would also stress the theme of the discourse on nature as a powerful.253 on Thu. The subtext is a recognition. alternative visions. in control over nature. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. and institutional settings. and display the effects of. politicaleconomic. however. its unwillingness to assume accountability for past activities. A regional discursive formation is. markets and private sector activities but also capacity
building. political. Failed modernization. 4). As with many actors in the business of development.
. marginalized statements. perhaps even think with similar logics. The strategy
. articulations which leave no discourse intact. modernist discursive formation. almost primordial. grassroots participation. of democratization movements which have attended the frontal assault (led in large measure by global regulatory institutions like the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund) on various forms of stateadministered development. WorldBank1989. indeed celebration. the World Bank's proposals are striking not for their newness but for their historical continuity. .Alternative paths have been proposed. examinashouldbe basedon a hard-headed tion of the lessons of the past.
. or ideological power supremacies demonstrate a continual tendency to extend over spaces with greatly different characteristics and discursive traditions.
This content downloaded from 200. repressed ideas. only to reappear with even greater intensity in new guises. formulated during momentous changes in global power relations..manyelementsof this vision have been challenged.
for example.253 on Thu. only became an object of planned development after the Great Depression of the 1930s. "they do not acquire political force independent of the constellation of institutions and interests already present there. By the end of the nineteenth century.232
which believes that the 1950s represents a historic watershed with the arrival of development thinking in Africa and elsewhere. universalisms which carried the appeal of secular utopias constructed with rationality and enlightenment. Williams (1976. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Watts 1993). The British Colonial Development and Welfare Act (1940) and the French Investment Fund for Economic and Social Development (1946) both represented responses to the crises and challenges which imperial powers confronted in Africa. albeit propeled after 1945 by the establishment of a panoply of global development institutions (Bretton Woods. as Hall (1989. but. These ideas may have real power and endurance. providing a means by which they could negotiate the perils of independence movements on the one hand and a perpetuation of the colonial mission on the other. and progress in the West (Parajuli 1991). Williams 1976). science. general and sustained development came only in [the 1950s]. The origins of development theory are part of the process by which the "colonial world" was reconfigured into a "developing world" in the aftermath of World War II. 104-6) notes that the complex genealogy of development in Western thinking can "limit and confuse virtually any generalizing description of the current world order". most Africans were outside the modern economy" (World Bank 1981. .76. development has rarely broken from organicist notions of growth or from a close affinity with teleological views of history. understood as a preoccupation of public and international policy with improving welfare and the production of governable subjects in "the Third World.166. 2 There is a growing body of scholarship which contests this view of development and poses "alternatives to development. and reappear under changed political-economic and ideological circumstances (i. A Cartography of Development If development theory is." A Genealogy of "Development" While "development" came into the English language in the eighteenth century.2
1 "Modern economic growth has a relatively short history in sub-SaharanAfrica . it was possible to talk of societies in a state of "frozen development. Thus. for example. a post-1945 construction rooted in
taken to be local knowledge systems (see Sachs 1992." is of relatively recent provenance (Sachs 1992).. the United Nations) and President Truman's "programof development based on the concepts of democratic fair dealing" (20 January 1949. with its root sense of unfolding.e. development. disappear. .. it is in the analysis of the "real practices subsumed by development that more specific recognitions are necessary and possible." In this sense. 390) rightly notes. scientism. cited in Esteva 1992. in which the West was the "transcendental pivot of analytical reflection" (Slater 1992. The field of development economics which arose in the 1940s and 1950s-for example. As a consequence. in this limited sense. Marxisms among them. rather.. Hirschmann. when the post-colonial period began." Even radical alternative intellectual traditions. and modernization.
This content downloaded from 200. Africa. . Development was modernity on a planetary scale. and Rodensteingrew in the soil of imperial planning initiatives." typically rooted in new social movements and what are
In Keywords. 11-12).' postwar theorizing recycles key development ideas which appear. became associated with linearity. regional discursive formations). the growth theories of Lewis. 312). it was granted a new lease on life by the evolutionary ideas of the nineteenth century (Rist 1991. 6).
state.e. ethnic. they may be poorly coordinated. a tradition of thinking
about the state normatively-a largely complex map. stands in sharp contrast to the 1950s.253 on Thu. perhaps more properly. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. or.. it may highlight a number of important points. for example-and each axis. A third implication of Figure 1 is that each vertical axis-state. function. and civil society engage each other. each constituted in ways peculiar to the core propositions of each theory. at which time there was widespread acceptance of some sort of state planning-a strange hybrid of a Gerschenkronian and Keyenesian state -as a prerequisite for "catching up" and as a response to the maladies of relative backwardness. market.76. imperfect. may create rents for particular classes. may equally be the crucible within which religious. or. diachronic) dimension to Figure 1 in the sense that the intellectual and discursive traditions surrounding the market. it nevertheless can be deposited on a much larger historical ground of ideas about comparative economic growth and sociopolitical transformation.DEVELOPMENT THEORY AND ENVIRONMENT
growing U. Watts 1993). which shifted the market to center stage. markets. As a heuristic device. neoliberalism rarely jettisons the state entirely.S. or other identifications impose strictures. participation. though it too is defined in a particular fashion. market. civil society-is engaged in some sort of internal puzzle-solving. 1). for example. Often seen as compensatory mechanisms for market failure. there is a lateral (i. similarly. although the market nexus is defined in a particularway (Elson 1988). At any historical moment. A second is the recognition that development discourse is calibrated around the relative weight attributed in its normative vision to the role of the state. locating in the complex geopolitical environment of the inter. of development as planned social and economic improvement (Escobar 1992a. an engagement driven in some measure by the pressing development realities they seek to explain (for example. and civil society fail. or may simply colonize civil society (Stern 1989). Civil society. the market. Marxism does not dismiss entirely the role of the market. theories tend to combine the normative content of development as particular configurations of state. as Toye (1987) calls it. No simple or direct relation exists between particular theoretical traditions-Marxism or modernization theory. see Colclough and Manors' States or Markets? (1991)) and the debate in the 1980s over whether the
This content downloaded from 200. and civil institutions. they may be monopolistic. Finally. state. the invention. In this sense. a venn-diagram-which has a momentum driven in part by the anomalies and real world problems which the theory must address. it contains its own internal debate concerning its role. One simple way to situate development discourse historically and provide a typology of its normative theoretical content is to see development as a constant oscillation between.and postwar period. hegemony on the one hand and the geopolitics of postcolonialism on the other. or encourage externalities. The 1980s counterrevolution. the construction. inflexible. and civil society (Fig. and reconfiguration of. development theories may be distinguished in terms of the extent to which states. and definition. For example. a repository of rights. This intellectual cartography is in no sense exhaustive-it refers largely to Eurocentric development theory associated with conventional development institutions and practices-and only refers to the normative (as opposed to the positive) aspects of development theory. a particular center of intellectual gravity in development discourse might be identified around one of these normative poles. The first is to historicize development itself. however. states may be rigid and inflexible mechanisms for allocating resources. and associational life.166. then. often seen as a critical mediating space between state and market. more properly. character. Different theoretical traditions tend naturally to weight these normative elements quite differently. In this sense. market. and civil society. There is. whatever the purported virtues of markets.
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especially agreements based on bargaining. many of which take the form of organizations."Of particular interest are development strategies that build relations of complementarity between civil organizations and the market and the state. not least in
relation to the 1980s reform packages for stabilization. a return to the colonial model of comparative advantage and export-oriented commodity production). Lastly. almost by definition. minimum basic needs and democratic rights. and rent seeking in Latin America and Africa. deindustrialization) of debt. corruption. Wade 1990). Sadoulet. and civil society. By the 1990s. it needs to be emphasized that development ideas are always regionalized into what we earlier called regional discursive formations: Latin American dependency theory is part of a particular regional discursive formation containing a state-centric development discourse.and marketcentered theories converged at the level of analytics through transaction cost and collective action theory and the so-called new institutional economics (Bardhan 1989). and persuasion. and Thornbecke 1991). which in some way reinforces the earlier point about the lack of correspondence between the vertical axis and theories of development per se.253 on Thu. and civil organizations. then. Individuals may shift locations on the map during the course of their careers-as. the 1980s saw a growing concern with institutions. 4) note: "When the state fails to deliver public goods. contain particular definitions of states. State-centered analysis focused both on the peculiarities of the developmental state in Taiwan and South Korea (relative autonomy. but one should take note also of the proliferation of new social actors and civics movements. Moreover. markets. state. cooperation. This resurgence of civil society in development discourse has been driven by a complex set of political forces and intellectual confluences. As de Janvry.or state-led development models. management of externalities. and Thornbecke (1991. new social actors-development seemed to gravitate around the "balance" between state. insurance.. Ironically. Recent Tendencies in Western Development Theory In the context of this simple map. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. or new social movements (Melucci 1988). in part as a
This content downloaded from 200. The literature was dominated by questions of stabilization and adjustment. a declining debt burden. For both theoretical and empirical reasons. These lateral and vertical dimensions vastly simplify the complexities of practical and theoretical differences in the field of development discourse. state-society relations (Migdal 1989).166. criticisms leveled at the failings of both neoliberal and authoritarian and bureaucratic development provided considerable momentum for a focus on institutions within civil society. each with different incentive schemes and compliance-cooperation mechanisms (de Janvry. civil organizations may fill the vacuum. We have already referred to the impact of "people's power" in the overthrow of various Stalinisms in Eastern Europe. market.76. The same holds for the market where market failures lead to the emergence of [civil] institutions.236
East Asian New Industrial Countries (NICs) are free-market or "Leninist" success stories (Amsden 1989. for example. Sadoulet. partial embeddedness) and the problems of state accountability. driven increasingly by a neoliberal orthodoxy that sought to reaffirm the necessity of reintegration into a global market and emphasize a "back-to-the-future"strategy (i. in a rather different geopolitical and economic environmentthe end of the cold war. Hirschmann did-and all theoretical traditions.e. the 1980s represents a period of retrenchment and restructuring in which recession and the debt crisis focused attention on short-term management ("disequilibria"). The East Asian NICs were studied as success stories in the context of widespread failure (stagnation. whether expressed in terms of agrarian social relations (Bardhan 1989). credibility.
and in their collective tradi-
tions" (Wiles 1969. agenda: "[Populism] . owner-operated. But when people are invoked in developmental discourses about civil societywhether it is the World Bank singing the praises of the ordinary African or the geographer lauding peasant science-who the people are. . How. a distinctive feature of populism-which perhaps explains its current appeal-is its flexible ability to draw on liberalism. .253 on Thu. are precisely political questions: "The question as to who 'the people' are. It calls on the state to inaugurate restoration. . the promotion of small-scale.. nationalism and socialism in fashioning its pragmatic. the political direction in which they/we will be made to point: these are the questions which cannot be resolved abstractly. but it distrusts the state and its bureaucracy and would minimize them before the rights and virtues of local communities and the populist individual" (Macrae 1969.DEVELOPMENT THEORY AND ENVIRONMENT
response to the austerity of the 1980s. and how is a particular populist subject interpo-
This content downloaded from 200. Populism in no sense exhausts discussions of civil society (see Gramsci 1971. . or the anthropological study of common-property regulation. and how they are interpolated. whether expressed in terms of analytical Marxism. South Africa. in Latin America. based on the following major premise: virtue resides in the simple people. and in the promotion of local knowledge systems and resource management (Richards 1985. In general. the Philippines. "Populism" Reconsidered It is perhaps not surprising. populism: "is . insofar as populist claims are always rooted in specific configurations of political and ideological discourses and practices. but it represents an important line of thinking and theorizing from the early nineteenth century to the present. Geertz. contains both a historical continuity-the recurrent motif of "the people" and "the ordinary"in developmentand a historical difference. 193) calls the "double articulation of discourse": the dialectical tension between "the people" and classes within the power bloc. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Keane 1988).76. then. 162). anti-urban programs which stand against the ravages of industrial capitalism (Kitching 1980)-but also as a particular sort of politics. the contract theory of the neoinstitutionalists. where they/we will be made to stand. But there has also been a rethinking of the relations between culture and development by returning to the modernization theory of Shills. line up and be counted. and ideology in which an effort is made to manufacture a collective popular will and an "ordinary" subject (Laclau 1977). who are in the overwhelming majority. and. The recycling of populisms in development discourse. authority structure. in the endogeneity of development institutions and social norms (de Janvry Sadoulet. in the social embeddedness of states and markets (Evans 1991. and Weber (Hoben and Hefner 1991). in other words. they can only be answered politically" (Bennett 1986. therefore.166. and the language of populism more generally. India. and the various ways in which "the people" are articulated with specific classes. 166). is profoundly a-political . Friedland and Robertson 1991). rest on what Laclau (1977.. . It goes beyond democracy to consensus. Warren 1991). in the role of grass roots organizations in the context of diminishing states and expanding markets (Uphoff 1991). more recently. and Thornebecke 1991). . does particular populist language articulate with a particular power bloc. 20). rather than political.. In a sense. Indeed. . that the enhanced emphasis within development on consolidating and promoting civil society has often drawn from populism and the power of what the World Bank calls "ordinary people. these tendencies reaffirm the confluence of analytics noted by Bardhan (1989) in his observation that the analysis of institutions has emerged as a central problematic." Populism here implies not only a broadly specified development strategy-that is to say. in parts of sub-Saharan Africa (we discuss this in more detail later). Populist strategies.
According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP 1992). 82. a widespread disenchantment with stateadministered politics.7 percent of global income is accounted for by the wealthiest 20 percent." driven in parts of the Third World by the very success of the NICs and peripheral industrialization. by 1989 the disparity had grown to 60 times. a "blunder of planetary proportions" (Sachs 1992. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Second. Current populist development claims. the Philippines. 17) as part of a larger body of work which had its origins in the critique of ecological
This content downloaded from 200. and the power of ordinary people. therefore. the ordinary peasant possessed of local knowledge and resource management capability. the resurgence of ferocious nationalisms. while the poorest 20 percent account for 1. Subsequently taken up by geographers. the authoritarian populism of Mrs. In their view. from a variety of political vantage points. The growing bimodal character of relations between North and South America (indeed." notes Mexican activist Esteva (1992. when it emerged as a response to the theoretical need to integrate land-use practice with local-global political economy (Wolf 1972) and as a reaction to the growing politicization of the environment (Cockburn and Ridgeway 1979). but their particular character and specificity must be rooted in the real politique of the end of the cold war. Thatcher) has helped sustain a developmental populism for the 1990s. at the moment of a purported Washington consensus and free-market triumphalism. anthropologists. the former Yugoslavia)-at a moment of free-market hegemony. some might say debilitating." It is precisely the ground swell of antidevelopment thinking. "You must be either very dumb or very rich if you fail to notice. within Third World states. First. have many intellectuals and activists from South America come to see development discourse as a cruel hoax. or the informalsector worker equipped with the entrepreneurial skills for appropriate technology or flexible specialization? The confluence of social movements in the former socialist bloc (the 1989 "revolutions") with a neoliberal conservatism that advertises individual agency in the marketplace (for example. as Brazil.
A Political Ecology for the 1990s
The term "political ecology" can be traced with some certainty to the 1970s. the top fifth of the world's population had 30 times the wealth of the bottom fifth. export-oriented production. In the fin de siecle world economy.4 percent. freedom-loving individual of the neoliberal counterrevolution (Bierstecker 1990. Fukuyama 1990). that represents one of the striking paradoxes of the 1990s. and historians (Bryant 1991). and ethnic genocide-in some senses the implosion of civil society (Somalia. the problem of environmental "externalities. civil institutions. racisms. reflected in the uncritical promotion of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). happens at a moment when the Washington development consensus-the "new realism" of free markets. In 1960. 7) "that 'development' stinks. political ecology combines the concerns of ecology with "a broadly defined political economy" (1987.76.238
lated-for example. and lean and mean states-is met by at least three pressing.253 on Thu. and in the selfinterested. And third. then.166. 3). For good reason. oppositional discourses that have as their starting point the rejection of development. it is perhaps most closely associated with Blaikie (1985) and Blaikie and Brookfield (1987). the polarization of global wealth
doubled between 1960 and 1989. can and should be located on a larger historical canvas. of rationality and the Western modernist project. and India testify) is unquestionably rooted in the period of adjustment and stabilization since the oil crisis of the 1970s. crises. the appalling spectacle detailed blandly every year in the World Bank Development Report of deepening global polarization. Concern for ordinary people. which some see as the contemporary equivalent of the Great Plague (Lipietz 1988).
" p. or be in contradiction with. Brookfield. Typically working in rural and agrarian Third World societies. similarly. encompassing the work of such diverse scholars as Hecht. complex.253 on Thu.DEVELOPMENT THEORY AND ENVIRONMENT
anthropology and cultural ecology in the late 1970s (Watts 1983). their chains of explanation seem incapable of explaining how factors become causes. and the pressure of production on resources. By the 1980s. Stonich. This attempts to: (1) link nature and society dialectically. By the late 1970s. propelled by the appeal of Marxism and political economy in the study of Third World development. the ideas of equilibrium and homeostasis on which geographers and anthropologists had drawn (Nietschmann 1973). Many societies studied were actually part of large. ecologically concerned social scientists attempted to weld together the compelling questions of the relations of production in a global economy ("economic change") with resource management and environmental regulation (Grossman 1984. Peter Vayda. (2) explain degradation through chains of explanatory factors. Bramwell. and it was precisely this openness which in many cases seemed to undermine. and the state-and they adopt a rather old-fashioned view of ecology rooted in stability. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Redclift.g. Watts 1983). resilience. and (3) link resource managers to "external structures. cybernetics. A broad and wideranging approach.. questions of access. But Blaikie and Brookfield try to tie political ecology to an integration of what they refer to as Marxism and behavioralism. and Ram Guha. The authors raise a number of important issues. the need to focus on the land manager. Bryant 1992. Some of the tensions and heterogeneities are reflected in Blaikie and Brookfield's (1987) key text. and contested within the political arenas of the household. open political economies. 68) and dispersed. political ecology seems grounded less in a coherent theory than in similar areas of inquiry (cf. This earlier theory gained currency during the first wave of the postwar environmental movement in the late 1960s.76. who specifically identifies contextual sources of ecological change. the plurality of perceptions and definitions of ecological problems.
A Critique of Political Ecology If political ecology reflects a confluence between ecologically rooted social science and the principles of political economy. Their emphasis on plurality comes perilously close to voluntarism. the workplace. Particularly striking is the fact that political ecology has very little politics-there is no serious attempt at treating the means by which control and access of resources or property rights are defined. its theoretical coherence nonetheless remains in question. this attempt at synthesis met a second phase of environmental activism (the rise of the Green movements worldwide) and a recognition of the deepening global human-induced modifications of the environment in part driven by the rapid industrialization of parts of South America and a renewed concern with demographic growth (Turner and Meyer 1992)." At this point their conception of political economy appears woolly ("almost every element in the world economy. including the social origins of degradation. cultural ecologists nonetheless uncovered substantial data on local ethnoscientific knowledges and the relations between cultural practices and resource management. but was ultimately hamstrung by its attachment to adaptation theory drawn from systems ecology. and systems theory (Zimmerer 1991). The lacunae in Blaikie and Brookfield's
This content downloaded from 200. negotiated. Roy Rappaport) suffered from a naive organismic view of society and a functionalism that saw culture as having adaptive value with respect to the general goals of living systems. and political ramifications of environmental alteration). but they typically placed these in an overarching regulatory structure derived from the cybernetic and self-correcting properties of closed living systems. Even the best of this research (e. and the work of Bateson.166.
The work of O'Connor (1988) and the journal Capitalism. New Directions in Political Ecology A number of loosely configured areas of scholarship extend the frontiers of political ecology. A second broad thrust questions the absence of a serious treatment of politics in political ecology. The state mediates. Mackenzie 1991.253 on Thu. and Schroeder. Efforts at integrating political action-whether everyday resistance. several studies focus on gender struggles centered around the environment (Agarwal 1992. coupled with its broad interdisciplinary focus. Socialism explore
these ideas in various parts of the Third World. Pt. A third focus is the complex analytical and practical association of political ecology and civil society. this special issue.76. how does the simple reproduction squeeze compel self-exploitation among peasants who mine the soil. and social movements) in an effort at maintaining capitalist accumulation. Hecht and Cockburn 1989). or organized party politics-into questions of resource access and control have proven especially fruitful (Broad 1993. Nature. At the philosophical level there are debates about Marxism and ecology (Benton 1989. from its inception. At the household management level. Turner. 2. Marx identifies production conditions (nature. "Liberation ecology" as a means of uniting nature with social justice is a key theme in the emerging body of work on the ecology of the poor (Martinez-Alier 1990) and in the large body of work on Indian environmental movements (see IICQ 1992)." In this view. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Peluso's brilliant study (1993) links the historiography of criminality with everyday resistance to show how state forest management is contested by Indonesian peasants. the state poses sharply the question of the relations between civil society and the environment. For example. civic movements. many of these concerns are raised directly by papers in this issue-but rather we point to several fruitful avenues for debate and empirical exploration.240
book.166. Some of the most exciting new work centers on efforts at explicitly retheorizing political economy and environment at several different levels. Ramachandra Guha 1990. Many contributions to Capitalism. political ecology discourse in the 1990s also seems to be directly concerned with institutions and organizations in the context of shifting configurations of state and market roles. 2). 2). It is striking. and hence politicizes. Toulmin 1992. Stonich 1989. and communal conditions of production) which capital cannot produce for itself as commodities. There are two obvious facets of
This content downloaded from 200. Pt. this issue. nonetheless. wrestled with the way management questions-whether regulatory apparatuses. or how can functional dualism facilitate labor migration which undermines local conservation or constrains sustainable herding practices (Little and Horowitz 1987. The growth of environmental movements largely unregulated by. Attempts at harnessing specific concepts drawn from political economy also exist as a way of linking the two structures of nature and society. conflicts around these conditions (environmental movements. and there is substantial documentation of the growing Third World environmental-livelihood movements (Broad 1993. Socialism start from the "second contradiction of capitalism. feminism. No attempt is made here to review the burgeoning field of political ecology-instead. Pt. have pushed the field of political ecology in a number of important and interesting directions. Nature. As we suggested in our map of development theory. Garcia Barrios and Garcia Barrios 1990. Kirby 1990). see also Carney. this special issue. Gadgil and Guha 1992. local knowledge systems. how political ecology has. or new community groups-occupy an important space in civil society. labor power. and distinct from. see also Leff 1986) and about whether the labor process is compatible with eco-regulation and the notion of biological limits. The first attempts to refine political economy in political ecology. Faber 1992. Grundemann 1991.
In this latter sense we return to the politics of political ecology. Sorj. and instability-suggests that many previous studies of range management or
This content downloaded from 200. 2). the socalled agrarian question (cf. What are the spaces within which these movements develop. this special issue. chaotic fluctuations. Ostrom 1990) and the conditions under which knowledges and practices become part of alternative development strategies. imperialism. Ghai 1992. the history of ecology (Bramwell 1989). this special issue. 2)? The second draws on the substantial literature on local knowledges and ecological populisms (Warren 1991. Taylor and Buttel (1992) trace the moral and technocratic ways in which the new global discourse on the environment is privileged. In so doing. but more directly to the institutional and regulatory systems in which the knowledges and practices are encoded. do they articulate with other organizations and resist the predations of the state (see Bebbington. The social construction of the environment and nature as categories with a long
history in geography has recently been productively taken up in the context of conservation (Grove 1993. and Wilkinson 1990). and contested (see Jarosz. there is the question of ecology in political ecology and the extent to which political ecology is harnessed to somewhat outdated notions of environmental science. among others. and how in the formulation of environmental science some courses of action are facilitated over others. modes of production. if at all. development. and their environmental ramifications. and Cronon (1992) point to an extraordinaryheterogeneity in the field. this special issue. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. pt. pt. early U.S.76.166. A fourth theme tackles head-on the problem of constructing and deconstructing sustainable development. both of which have received some attention.253 on Thu. Botkin (1990) and Worster (1977). The obvious theoretical contrasts between Worster (1977). Finally. Adams (1991) and others identify contrasting ideologies and the communities which contest its definition and domain. 1. Neumann 1992). and trajectories of the environmental associations and organizations (see Escobar 1992a. Contained within each is the idea of writing alternative histories-of Chicago. Linked to Blaikie and Brookfield's emphasis on the plurality of perceptions and definitions.DEVELOPMENT THEORY AND ENVIRONMENT
these relations. pt. and Yapa. In providing much-needed historical depth to political ecology. Moore. pt. environmental historians meet on the same ground as a quite different intellectual tradition. Merchant (1993). 1). 1. Kautsky 1906). Opportunities for exploring the capitalization of nature through "appropriation"and "substitution" (Goodman. describe the relatively new ecological concepts which pose problems for the theory and practice of political ecology. the production of nature in the laboratory (Harraway 1992) and in environmental ideologies (Lewis 1992). this special issue. this special issue. The question of doing environmental history represents a fifth aspect of an invigorated political economy. can and should be readily seized by political ecologists (see Arce and Marsden. The shift from 1960s systems models to the ecology of chaosthat is to say. disequilibria. environmental historians raise important theoretical and methodological questions for the study of longterm environmental change. negotiated. The concern is not simply a salvage operadisappearing knowltion-recovering edges and management practices-but rather a better understanding of both the regulatory systems in which they inhere (see the literature on common property. The first is the origins. Socialist Review 1992). discourse analysis (and more generally a concern with the social construction of knowledge) is deployed with effect in understanding the variety of environmental discourses around sustainability. pt. which attempts to chart the ways in which the biological character of agriculture shapes the trajectories of capitalist development (Kloppenberg 1989). agriculture-from the perspective of long-term ecosystemic change. and how. Richards 1985).
and it remains to be seen where the conceptual confluences and tensions will arise within the political ecology of the 1990s. a collective agency forcing historical transformations. many of which emerged in the 1980s. We know its secrets. The indige-
This content downloaded from 200. (statementby the Co-ordinatingBody for the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazonbasin. some of the work on agro-ecology (Gleissman 1990. moments of contradiction between the forces and relations of production are.and the modelwhich to the is implementedtherebycorresponds local people's aspirations. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. To a degree. this latter assumption occludes the very aspects of society that must be interrogated and precludes an understanding of the novelty of recent social movements. this special issue. In the dialectical view. both what it can offer us.. such as Cohen (1982). 84) do not easily cohere into a single theory. Thus. reflecting the engagements within and between political economy. harmony. class is the main form of social engagement and control of the means of production its primary terrain of struggle. in intercropping and pest management). Critique of Classical Models "Post-Marxist"critiques. as Habermas (1971) argues. There is. for classical Marxists. All of these new directions are not necessarily of a theoretical piece." It is to this "liberation ecology" and the new social movements. and resilience may have to be rethought (Zimmerer 1991).166. The new ecology is especially sensitive to rethinking space-time relations to understand the complex dynamics of local environmental relations in the same way that the so-called dialectical biologists (Levins and Lewontin 1988) rethink the evolutionary dynamics of biological systems.
nous people of the Amazon have always lived there. and ecological science itself. Much of this work begins with Marxism and a dialectical version of historical change. political economy and political ecology have long sustained strong interest in social movements. Marxist theory takes for granted the penetration of all spheres of social life by a single. societal dynamics emerge from contradictory oppositions. discourse theory. the contexts in which a class existing "initself' engages in intensified political struggle and becomes a class "for-itself'that is. xiii). For Cohen (1982. Second. to which we now turn. an extraordinary vitality within the field. productivist logic that privileges economy and identifies class relations as key to the structure of domination and the forms of resistance in contemporary society.. Notwithstanding Worster's (1977) warning that disequilibria can easily function as a cover for legitimating environmental destruction. often accept Marxian principles of class stratification and social antagonism.In Marx'sworks. the Amazonis our home. A major site of such engagement is in the analysis of social and environmental movements. 1989) As we have intimated.76. crises. First. neo-Marxist theorists have
Social and Environmental Movements: An Alternative Development?
Development can only occur when the in the design of people it affectsparticipate the proposedpolicies. Altieri and Hecht 1990. poststructuralism. and social conflicts.. however. but challenge certain aspects of the classical Marxist account. pt. and what its limits are. see also Zimmerer. the conceptions of history as an evolutionary unfolding of the objective contradictions between the forces and relations of production (Marx 1970) and of "the history of class struggles" (Marx and Engels 1974. a field that draws together the explosive growth of organizations and civic movements around sustainability with an implicit critique of (and an alternative vision of "development.242
soil degradation resting on simple notions of stability.253 on Thu. 1) suggests that the rethinking of ecological science can be effectively deployed in understanding the complexities of local management (for example.
253 on Thu. Here it is clear that geography is both part of the structure (as with control of space. Even the clarification of terms ~~~~3. Castoriadis begins with the physical environment. and Tilly 1975. Four basic types of neo-Marxist theory may be discerned. Gamson 1975. fields of action. for which fragments of logic and applied knowledge must be created." arenas" (Rucht 1988) is just beginning. 3). "biologically given") natural world. 3-~ like "terrains. As with his work.76. rules. deficiencies in the classical formulation. (pre-social. by Touraine (1977). Insisting on the strategic-instrumental rationality of collective action and the orientation to interests by collective actors. many post-Marxist theorists maintain that neo-utilitarian. it remains unclear why individuals acting rationally in pursuit of their interests get involved in groups (the "free rider problem" (Miller 1992)) and what makes groups solidary in the first place. institute a social world proper to each society (with its articulations. the creationof a world of meanings. Oberschall 1973). Theoreticians like Marcuse (1964) search for a substitute revolutionary subject to play the role previously assigned to the proletariat. use of resources. . purposes. with collective action involving the rational pursuit of interests by conflicting groups. the presupposition behind neo-Marxism remains that production relations are key to the logics of civil society and radical social movements. Szeleny and Konrad 1979) transfer attention from workers to critical intellectuals. and hierarchiesof social (human) life. for collective interaction involves something other than strategic or instrumental rationality (Habermas 1984). Society leans upon the first natural stratum. for Castoriadis (1991.
P19 . establishthe ways in which socializedand humanized are to individuals be fabricated. But for critics like Cohen (1982. Wright 1979) rejects many of the features stressed by humanist Marxism to concentrate on classes defined as effects of structures. Here the assumption is that conflicts of interest are built into institutionalized power relations. in essence.its social which organizethe imaginary significations. Aronowitz 1973) focus on changes in the structure of production in welfare state capitalism to provide a new strategy for labor. on a tradition in French social theory initiated by Castoriadis (1975) and continued. Also. But he claims this would be as true for apes as it is for humans. rational-actor models are inapplicable. but in some cases exaggerated. but only to erect a fantastically complex(andamazingly coherent)edificeof significationswhich vest any and every thing with meaning. Tilly. the biological properties of human beings. and the necessity of material and sexual reproduction. Instead. Cohen (1985) also criticizes the "resource-mobilization paradigm" based in conflict models of collective action (Tilly.`dss a s `
The Self-Production of Society Given the (partly valid) critiques of Marxian and resource-mobilization theories. values. The task of "knowing" a society therefore consists in reconstituting the world of its social imaginary significations. Theorists of the "new intellectual class" (Gouldner 1979. For Casto-
This content downloaded from 200. much of the recent work on social movements has drawn. The result of such criticisms is a position which tries to analyze the conditions and processes by which structural
change is transformed into collective action (Klandermans and Tarrow 1988). 41): The construction of its own world by each and every society is.DEVELOPMENT THEORY AND ENVIRONMENT
rectified.etc. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. But we find this an area of inquiry rich in potential. "New working class" theorists (Mallet 1969. this position occupies ground mapped out by Olson (1965). Gorz 1967.). in modified form.and insaturatethe motives. Structural Marxist class analysis (Poulantzas 1973. As with Marx. instead. and so forth) and part of the process by which structures become collective actions (the influence of terrains of struggle on the forms and intensities of and Breitbart struggles-Ackelsberg 1987-88).166.
domination. ontologically specific in that it can put itself into question. for the benefit of either an innovative ruling class or. connections. and so forth) in and through the particular institution of society to which they "belong. Touraine also distinguishes himself from what he regards as the main message of structuralpoststructural social theory. 299) was arguing even more strongly that "the concept of social movement as an agent of social transformation is strictly unthinkable in the Marxist theory. for Touraine. student. 34): "History does not happen to society: history is the selfdeployment of society. he argues that social change happens when a new urban meaning is produced through a process of conflict. For Castells (1983.253 on Thu. urban social movements respond to structural contradictions. in such systems radical social movements would be quickly shunted to the margins. feminist.166. Similarly. This work was precipitated by the rise of protest movements in the late 1960s and 1970s (civil rights. 311)." by which he means the work society performs on itself by reinventing its norms." His stress lies on the social praxis involved in the genesis of norms and the conflicts over their interpretations. the passage from one cultural and societal field to another.76. 71). In Castells's (1977) early Althusserian work. Protest movements organize around common interests on a variety of terrains of struggle. makes possible the entry of social movements. involving not control over the means of production but lack of collective goods and services. then. these are of a plural-class and secondary nature.to Post-Marxism in Urban Social Movements Drawing on the Marxist tradition. rather than the economically ruling class directly. for Touraine they are defined purely in terms of social action.244
riadis (1991." Each socialhistorical instance thus has an essential singularity: phenomenologically specific in the social forms and individuals it creates. the necessary decomposition of society. crises. on the contrary. Most significantly. "the new
This content downloaded from 200." Influenced by Touraine. For Touraine (1985. and urban social conflicts. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. cultural. although. but again differing significantly from it. Whereas in Marxism classes are defined structurally by positions in the production process. class struggles and social movements express conscious contestation over the "self production of society. Touraine (1988) replaces the construct of society as a system driven by an inner logic with society as a "field of action. they combine a political force aimed at changing the rules of the game with a defense of status or privilege. environmental) which came to be referred to as the new social movements. At the core of his analysis lies the "cultural orientations common to actors who are in conflict over the management of these orientations. able to explicitly alter itself through self-reflective activity. those who are subordinated to its domination" (Touraine 1988. conflict
occurs over control of the main cultural patterns through which relationships with the environment are normatively organized. as opposed to classical Marxism. From Neo. the relegation of groups to the decaying inner cities. institutions. but above all. Struggles over historicity lie at the center of the functioning of society and of the process by which society is created. and resistance to domination. But for Touraine. often in opposition to the state and other political and sociocultural institutions. or political identity. By the early 1980s Castells (1983. 155). and similar deprivations. meaning. From Marcuse to Althusser to Foucault and Bourdieu the claim is that social life is nothing more than "the system of signs of an unrelenting domination" (Touraine 1988. a series of works appearing in the late 1970s and 1980s explored the connections between contradictions." His notion is that the elements of social-historical life are created each time (in terms of relevancy. and practices. 750-54) social conflicts involve the competitive pursuit of collective interests and the reconstitution of social.
says. During the 1980s.' etc. New Social Movements in the Third World Recent thinking on social movements has therefore involved a movement away from what are frequently found to be the restrictions of classical theories. so that.DEVELOPMENT THEORY AND ENVIRONMENT
emerging social movements call for the pre-eminence of human experience over state power and capitalist profit. 34).' 'petite bourgeois. bureaucratization. Laclau finds the democratic potential of the new social movements to lie precisely in their implicit demands for a radically open and indeterminate view of society. Mouffe (1984) argues that the commodification of social life. political participant. is neither correct nor incorrect-it is. coalitions for the defense of regional traditions and interests. resident. for example. Laclau and Mouffe (1985) find the common demoninator of all the new social movements (urban. human rights' committees. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. simply. squatter movements and neighborhood councils.
This content downloaded from 200. and so forth have become increasingly autonomous. indiginist associations. youth meetings. and "cultural massification" have created new forms of subordination in terms of which new social movements should be interpreted. 44) terms. the geographic focus of research shifted from urban social movements in Western Europe and the United States to new social movements in the Third World. baselevel communities within the Catholic church.76. particularly Latin America.253 on Thu. the new social movements have precipitated a crisis in the way social agents and social conflict are theorized. What Laclau (1985. educational and artistic activities. This radical optimism was tempered in the second half of the 1980s as some movements declined and their limited potential was realized. Thus for Laclau subject-positions always display openness and ambiguity and there is no fully acquired social identity. Furthermore. Transformations in the twentieth century weakened the ties between the subject's various identities." For Laclau (1985. and self-help groupings among unemployed and poor people created a new social reality which. sexual minorities) to be their differentiation from workers' struggles considered as class struggles. It has become increasingly difficult to identify social groups with a coherent system of subject positions. women's associations. each tending to create its own space and to directly politicize a specific area of social relations. Indeed. Laclau (1985. 39) calls the "moment of totalization" in the political imaginary is now restricted to specific demands in particular circumstances. in Evers's (1985. 29) argues that: "Categories such as 'working class. 27). antiracist. crises involved a total model of society and social struggles developed a unified political imaginary. feminist. the multiplication of points of rupture in society leads to a proliferation of antagonisms. the social contradictions to which social agents respond cannot be reduced to moments in the operation of an underlying societal logic-"the social is in the last instance groundless" (Laclau 1985.166. regional." Another sequence of works in the post-Marxist vein stems from collaboration between Laclau and Mouffe. "lies beyond the realm of traditional modes of perception and instruments of interpretation. the worker's position in the relations of production and his or her position as consumer. by comparison. This autonomy lies at the root of the specificity of the new social movements. [have become] less and less meaningful as ways of understanding the overall identity of social agents. In the nineteenth century. This leads toward a differing conception of radical politics. totally insufficient as a way of accounting for contemporary social conflicts. ecological. A multiplicity of groups independent of traditional trade unions and political parties." Radical theorists involved with these movements found in them potential for a new political hegemony constructed through the direct action of the masses. The concept of 'class struggle' for example. In the twentieth century. Rather than finding this a political retreat.
open defiance.slander." which is the preserve of the middle classes and intelligentsia. rents and interest from them. some of the more interesting ideas derive from the work of Scott (1985. faction and ritual links are competing foci of human identity and solidarity: "the messy reality of multiple identities [is] the experience out of which social relations are conducted" (Scott 1985. 1990). they are likely to create and defend a social space in which offstage dissent to the official transcript of power relations may be voiced" (Scott 1990. The fugitive political conduct of subordinate groups may be read and interpreted in a different kind of study of power that uncovers contradictions. tensions.arson.(Scott1985." Scott works under the (tentative) premise that there are structurally similar forms of domination and that these elicit broadly comparable reactions and patterns of resistance.246
At the same time. especially in peasant villages. He agrees that economic factors place limits on the situations faced by human actors. Although not strictly in the social movements tradition. and immanent possibilities: Every subordinate groupcreates. His first theme is a more accurate theorization of the practice of everyday life through which culture is created and reproduced.xii) Drawing more directly on poststructural themes.166.false compliance. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Escobar (1992b) sees social movements equally as cultural struggles over meaning and over material conditions and needs. 14) attention was drawn more toward poststructural issues of "how power relations affected discourse. for their part. a "hidden transcript"that represents a critiqueof powerspokenbehindthe back of the dominant.out of its ordeal. 80) argues that subordinate classes "have rarely been afforded the luxury of open. also develop a hidden transcript representing the practices and claims of their rule that cannotbe openly avowed. sabotage. political activity. and members of lower castes ordinarily dare not openly contest the terms of subordination. but within these limits people fashion their own responses. pilfering. His second theme is the need to rethink the relations
This content downloaded from 200. where kinship. by contrast. Yet cultural politics are rarely visible in conventional forms of analysis. poststructural and postmodern approaches were increasingly explored in Third World social movements research. everyday resistance might entail piecemeal peasant squatting on plantation or state forest land. Scott's (1990.and so forth. (Scott1990. class does not exhaust the total explanatory space of social actions. he argues that slaves. Escobar draws together a number of themes which might make the cultural dimension more visible. Scott criticizes structuralist variants of Marxism for assuming that the nature of class relations in a Third World society can be inferred from a few diagnostic features like the dominant mode of production. Drawing on phenomenology and ethnomethodology. though. serfs. locating daily life at the intersection of the articulation of meaning through practice on the one hand and macro processes of domination on the other. Instead. taxes. 43).A of the hidden transcript comparison of the weak with that of the powerfuland of both hiddentranscripts to the publictranscript of power relationsoffers a substantially new way of understanding resistanceto domination. Mostof the formsthis struggletakes stop well short of outrightcollective defiance. Focusing on extreme powerlessness. Everyday forms of resistance are often the most significant and effective over the long run. Here I have in mind the ordinary foot weaponsof relatively powerlessgroups: dragging.The powerful. "Behind the scenes. x). Scott (1985. Also.76.253 on Thu. he focuses on: everydayforms of peasant resistance-the prosaicbut constantstrugglebetween the peasantryand those who seek to extract labor.feigned ignorance. organized.
By the time of Domination and the Arts of Resistance. their own experiences of class.dissimulation. neighborhood.29) In struggles over land. their own histories. food. would be a public invasion that challenges property rights.
Broad (1993). 2502 LT. In much of this literature the label "environmental" is hardly appropriate. Box 29777. 10) claim for "semiotic resistance. the idea for Escobar (1992b) is to relate structural theories of global transformation to the "subjective mapping of experience. since the proliferation of grass roots and NGO movements often focus on livelihoods and justice. put them into wider circulation. A wide array of popular statements which often appear only at the local level may be read as evidences of environmental resistance. indicative of a new mode of doing politics. documents what she calls a new citizens' movement in the Philippines (5-6 million strong). and politics.3 and calls for access to. Rather than "speaking for" subaltern peoples. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. or of Laclau and Mouffe's (1985) argument that politics is a discursive articulatory process. of Touraine's (1981.
This content downloaded from 200. for example. Academic work can usefully compare this "documentary" evidence with a critique of the hegemonic discourse on development and environment.DEVELOPMENT THEORY AND ENVIRONMENT
between everyday life. food security. the emphasis on local knowledges. autopoietic (that is to say. and control over." and Williams's (1980) insistence that residual and emerging practices continue to exist that have a collective character and which can provide a basis for resistance and collective action. create networks of ideas. Rather than saying what peasant consciousness should be if it is to be "correct. consisting of "mass-based organizations" which arise from the intersection of political-economic plunder and local demands for participation and justice. P. or of Melucci's (1980. Third. It is striking how indigenous rights movements. While some conventional work posits simple and unmediated relationships between environmental change and social instability-civil strife (see Homer-Dixon. local resources (broadly. may be combined with an interest in the discourses of protest. and Rathjens 1993). The Netherlands). 1988) notion of historicity.76. Generally. according to some (Escobar 1992a). The Hague. social movements writ large. democratization) crosscut the environment-poverty axis." These are ambitious (and in some cases myopic) claims. culture. the idea is to help uncover the discourses of resistance. in terms. Here the mission is to pose the alternatives in stronger terms. Environmental Movements Many of these ideas have been deployed in the analysis of burgeoning Third
World "environmental movements" (Ghai and Vivian 1992).O. but whatever their potential and scope. 1988) proposition that networks of relationships submerged in everyday life lie behind the creation of cultural models and symbolic challenges by movements. The notion of everyday resistance. to construct a sort of moral economy of the environment. a microsociology and ethnography of popular resistance is developing. Boutwell.166. conservation politics. selfproducing and self-organizing) movements which exercise power outside the state arena and which seek to create "decentered autonomous spaces. including the Indigenous Knowledge and Development Monitor (CIRAN." the idea is to allow discourses to speak for themselves. infinitesimal changes in the dominant forms under which they live.253 on Thu. This multidimensionality is." which originates in the "desire of the subordinate to exert control over the meaning of their lives. it is striking how little is said in the environment-as-social-movement literature about the conditions under which local movements transcend their locality (and hence contribute to the building of a robust civil society) and about the problem of productivity and
3There are now several international indigenous knowledge networks. Fiske's (1989. for example. as with de Certeau's (1984) notion that the "marginal majority" effect multiple. the environmental movements literature tends to the local in its purview and often focuses on efforts to take resources out of the marketplace.
or indian communities fighting transnational oil companies in Ecuadorrepresents for the new social movements community the building blocks for an "alternative to development" (Sachs 1992). each with lessons to teach and problems to avoid. Rather. and ecological regulation and management. richly textured empirical work (a sort of political-ecological thick description). as Hegel once pointed out.(BertoltBrecht. land use. Discourse theory. change the world and ourselves. as Shiva (1991) unconvincingly attempts to do. and appear in. These conditions are reflected on. itself has fabricated a mythology about the dialectic or. and change.248
growth in the face of mass poverty. one of the great merits of the turn to discourse. 14) The poststructural and postmodern critique of Western science as rationality in its pure and universal form opens the way for a fuller understanding of the multiplicity of ways of comprehending the development-environment nexus. itself has serious shortcomings. But we would argue that poststructural theory. The poststructural critique of "the rational. within political ecology is the demands it makes for nuanced. which has usefully clarified what in vulgar Marxism were seen as direct and unproblematic relations between crises and social movements. By contrast. if "rationality" is reconceptualized in pragmatic terms as contextualized forms of "careful thinking. determineits direction." by tracing the links between ecology and imperialism (science backing colonial hegemony). boring man. the recent literature on social movements. the existence of such grass roots livelihood movements-rubber tappers in eastern Amazonia. In so doing.We have a people in mind who make history. Furthermore. rather.76. Whatever their shortcomings analytically. the formation of meaning. In this sense. nor in a social vacuum. truth. but under definite material and social conditions. Discourse that remains only discourse produces. Poststructural analysis begins with the devastating environmental consequences of modernity. which owes much of its appeal to the deconstruction of the Western myths of science. however. Multiple meanings and collective identity formation do not cohere automatically to yield a social movement as an automatic response to a situation of crisis. crisis. We have in mind a fightingpeople and thereforean aggressive conceptof what is popular. Some of the contributions to this special issue precisely capture this fine-grained and culturally sensitive analysis. exploring contradictions as material and discursive gives to poststructural theory what is often missing. however. broadly understood. has taken the "dialectic" of Stalin's iron
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Ourconceptrefersto a peoplewho not only play a full part in historicaldevelopment but actively usurp it. accounts of environment and development should begin with the overall contradictory character of relations between societies and natural environments and recognize that dialectics remains a compelling theory of contradiction. In our view.166. cited in McGuigan 1992. tree huggers in North India. force its pace.253 on Thu. introspective way. and rationality. disembodied and suspended from the complex and contradictory material conditions in which discourses about the environment are deeply imbricated (Whatmore and Boucher 1993). but deepens this practical critique by arguing for context-dependent. a sense of concrete reality." the opportunity for an exchange of information about relations with
environment is greatly enhanced. each marked by its own contradictions. there is no a priori need to romanticize precapitalist or non-Western relations between society and nature. allows for a retrieval of peasant and indigenous discourses on nature. substantially different local discourses about environment and development. often remains only at the level of discourse. the search for "meaning" is not conducted in a purely personal. 16 May 2013 15:45:44 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. For example.
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