You are on page 1of 10

University of North Carolina

Department of Anthropology
ANT 320
Spring 2015

Instructor: Arturo Escobar

TAs: Kailey Rocker, Eric Thomas

The Anthropology of Development

Course Description
This course is intended as a critical introduction to theories and strategies of international
development, as they have been applied in Asia, Africa and Latin America. By critical introduction we
mean a study of development strategies from a cultural and historical perspective, not just in terms of
their economic dimension or effects. This means that we will not treat international development as a
given or as an indubitable necessity. Rather, the course will seek to: a) analyze the historical
incorporation of Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific into economic and cultural processes
originating chiefly in more affluent countries, in the name of development, particularly during the past
sixty years; b) examine the effects of representing and treating these countries as underdeveloped or
developing ever since. The course pays significant attention to the ways in which the development
problem and its solutions are conceptualized according to various theoretical frameworks, including the
invention of the notions of Third World and development themselves. The course is thus not intended
to teach students how to engage in development work (although students who wish to do so will be more
critically prepared for the task), nor as an inventory of development problems and strategies for their
As in any other anthropology courses, we aim to construct a cultural perspective on development.
We start with a brief set of statements about development as triggers for our thinking. This includes
looking at problem statements and statistics about development by mainstream organizations, such as the
World Bank and the United Nations (weeks 1-2). We next move to an overview of the historical
background of development by situating it within the rise and consolidation of capitalism and modernity.
An important aspect of this background was the creation of the economy as a separate domain of
thought and action over the past two hundred years (weeks 3-4). This is followed by a survey of the most
important theoretical approaches that have succeeded one another in the development studies field,
particularly those originating in liberal, Marxist, and poststructuralist frameworks (weeks 5-8). Particular
attention will be given to the analyses of development as a discourse of power and set of practices.
Notions of postdevelopment and degrowth are examined as they have emerged from this cultural
critique during the past few years. The next part of the course revisits some salient issues in development
today, including climate change, agriculture and food, and gender (weeks 9-11). Finally, we look at some
ways forward in development thinking, including notions and practices of alternative economies,
postdevelopment, and visions of the profound ecological and cultural transitions seen as needed in order
to face the intertwined crises of climate, food, poverty, energy, and meaning.
Course meeting time: The class meets Tuesday and Thursday 12:30 1:45.
Course Evaluation: Class attendance and participation are very important. There will be two take-home
examinations: an in-class midterm and a final. Each of these accounts for 30% of the grade. There will
also be a web-based exercise on development resources, worth 15%. Attendance and participation in
class and discussion sections are worth the remaining 25%.
Honor Code: Students are expected to adhere to UNC's Honor Code <>

Required Texts (available at Student Stores):

Philip McMichael. 2012. Development and Social Change. A Global Perspective. Fifth Edition.
London: Sage.
J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, and Stephen Healy. 2013. Take Back the Economy. Minneapolis:
University of Minnesota Press. An Ethical Guide for transforming Our Communities
Felix Dodds, Jorge Laguna-Celis and Liz Thompson. 2014. From Rio+20 to a New Development
Agenda: Building a Bridge to a Sustainable Future. London: Routledge.
Gustavo Esteva, Salvatore Borbones, and Philipp Babcicky. 2013. The Future of Development. A
Radical Manifesto. Bristol: Policy Press.
Recommended text:
Vandana Shiva. 2008. Soil, Not Oil. Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis. Cambridge:
South End Press.
The rest of the readings will be on the Sakai site for the course, or available electronically, as indicated in
the syllabus.
Reading List
Part One. Defining/Measuring Development
Week I. Triggers: What is meant by development? Who defines it? Who needs to develop?
1. Skim End Poverty 2015. The Millennium Campaign: (1/13)

We the Peoples,

2012 Annual Report (, pp. 1-11 (skim rest)

2. Review The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): (1/13)


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report 2013 (Executive Summary).

3. United Nations Development Program. 2013. Human Development Report. The Rise of the South:
Human Progress in a Diverse World (see Overview, pp. 1-18; selected indicators, e.g., pp. 140-159).

4. UN General Assembly. 2014. The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming all Lives,
and protecting the Planet. Synthesis Report of UN Secretary General on the Post-2015 Sustainable
Development Agenda. (1/15)
5. Review The World Bank, : (1/15)

World Bank, World Development Report 2014. Risk and Opportunity. Managing Risk for
Development (See Foreword; Overview, read pp. 1-27).

World Bank, Countries Back Ambitious Goal to Help End Extreme Poverty by 2030

6. Karma Ura, S. Alkire, T. Zangmo, and K. Wangdi. 2012 A Short Guide to Gross National Happiness
IndexOn Gross National Happiness. . Center for Bhutan Studies, pp. 1-17. (1/15)
Gross National Happiness:
Center for Bhutan Studies,
7. Eduado Gudynas. 2013. Buen vivir: the social philosophy inspiring movements in South America.
The Guardian, Feb 4. (1/16)
Week II. The development project: from World War II to contemporary crises
1. Watch: Welcome to the Anthropocene: (and website) (1/20)
2. Stephen King. When Wealth Disappears. New York Times, Oct 6, 2013. (1/20)
3. Review trends on inequality:; (1/20)
4. Gustavo Esteva, Salvatore Babones, and Philipp Babcicky. 2013. The Future of Development: A
Radical Manifesto. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 27-48. (1/20)
5. Philip McMichael. 2012. Development and Social Change, pp. 1-54. (1/20)
6. Vandana Shiva. Soil, Not Oil, pp. 1-8. (1/22)
7. Development and Social Change, pp. 55-109. (1/22)

8. Howard French. 2010. The Next Empire. The Atlantic, April 13, (1/22)
9. Gar Alperovits. 2013.The Next American Revolution Has Already Begun. (1/22)
Web resources (international organizations):
United Nations Development Program:
The World Bank:
Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO:
Web Resources (some alternative development NGOs):
Center for Bhutan Studies:
International Forum on Globalization (IFG), Washington:
World Watch Institute:
The Development Group for Alternative Policies, Washington:
Society for International Development (SID), Rome:
The Dag Hammarskjld Foundation:

Part Two. The Social and Cultural History of Development

Week III. Histories of development I: The cultural and social history of the economy
1. Fernand Braudel. 1977. Afterthoughts on Material Civilization and Capitalism. (Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins University Press), pp. 3-75. (1/27)
2. Louis Dumont. From Mendeville to Marx. The Genesis and Triumph of Economic Ideology (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1977), pp. 3-9, 23-39. (1/27)
3. Charles Taylor. The Economy as Objectified Reality. In C. Taylor, Modern Social Imaginaries
(Durham: Duke University Press, 2004), pp. 69-82. (1/27)
4. Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1944/1957), pp. 56-76. (1/29)
5. J.K. Gibson-Graham et al. Take Back the Economy, pp. xiii-15. (1/29)
Web resources on the economy and the history of economic thought :
Center for Popular Economics:
History of Economics website:
Max Weber,]
Commanding Heights video: Keynes at Bretton Woods:
Post-Autistic Economics
Real-World Economics Network

Rethinking Marxism:

Week IV. Capitalism, markets, and the economy

1. Fernand Braudel. 1977. Afterthoughts on Material Civilization and Capitalism. (Baltimore: Johns
Hopkins University Press), pp. 75-117. (2/3)
2. Development and Social Change, pp. 80-109. (2/3)
3. J.K. Gibson-Graham et al. Take Back the Economy, Ch. 4 (pp.85-123). (2/5)
4. Gustavo Esteva, et. al. The Future of Development, Ch. 3. (2/5)
Review: Poor Economics,
Some additional web resources on the economy/economics:
Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS):;
The New Economics Foundation:
Michael Alberts Pareconomic:
Our World Is Not for Sale Network:
Sacred economics:
Voluntary simplicity:
Community economies:

Part Three. Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives on Development

Week V. Theories of development: modernization, dependency, neoliberalism
1. Susanne Schech and J. Haggis. 2000. Culture and Development (Oxford: Blackwell), pp. 1-56 (2/10)
2. Development and Social Change, Ch. 5, pp. 112-149. (2/10)
3. Stacy Leigh Pigg. 1992. Inventing Social Categories through Place: Social Representations and
Development in Nepal. Comparative Studies in Society and History 34(3): 491-513. (2/12)
4. Clive Gabay. 2012. The Millennium Development Goals and Ambitious Developmental
Engineering. Third World Quarterly 33(7): 1249-1265. (2/12)
Week VI. Discourse, culture, and power in development
1. Gustavo Esteva, Salvatore Babones, and Philipp Babcicky. 2013. The Future of Development: A
Radical Manifesto. Bristol: Policy Press, pp. v-25. (2/17)
2. Timothy Mitchell The Object of Development: Americas Egypt. In Jonathan Crush, ed. Power of
Development (New York: Routledge, 1995), pp. 129-157. (2/17)

3. Arturo Escobar, Encountering Development (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995), Introduction
(pp. 3-20). (2/19)
5. Development and Social Change, Ch. 6, pp.150-181. (2/19)
Web resources (alternative or radical NGOs and networks):
Focus on the Global South (Focus):
Third World Network:
World Social Forum:
Global Exchange (San Francisco):
The Dag Hammarskjld Foundation:


Week VII. Postdevelopment, degrowth, the commons, Buen Vivir.
1. Charles Eisenstein. Steady State and Degrowth Economics. Sacred Economics (Berkeley: Evolver
Editions, 2011), pp. 249-266. (2/24)
2. Serge Latouche. 2009. Farewell to Growth. London: Polity Press, pp. 5-66. (2/24)
3. Gustavo Esteva, et al. The Future of Development: A Radical Manifesto, Ch. 4. (2/24)
4. David Bollier. 2014. Think Like a Commoner. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers, pp. 1-20.
5. Gustavo Esteva, et al. The Future of Development: A Radical Manifesto, Ch. 6. (2/26)
6. Gudynas, Eduardo. 2011a. Buen Vivir: Todays Tomorrow. Development 54(4): 441-447. (2/26)

Week VIII. Understanding the UN and its role.

Rio + 20: Review (3/3)
Felix Dodds, Jorge Laguna-Celis and Liz Thompson. 2014. From Rio+20 to a New
Development Agenda: Building a Bridge to a Sustainable Future, pp. 1-115. (3/3)
Felix Dodds, Jorge Laguna-Celis and Liz Thompson. 2014. From Rio+20 to a New
Development Agenda, pp. 133-225. (3/5)


Part Four. Current crises and special issues in development
Week IX. Globalization, gender, and development
1. Kum-Kum Bhavnani, John Foran, and Priya Kurian, An Introduction to Women, Culture, and
Development. In K. Bhavnani, J. Foran, and P. Kurian, eds. Feminist Futures. Re-imagining Women,
Culture, and Development (London: Zed Books, 2003), pp. 1-39. (3/17)
2. Wendy Harcourt. 2009. Body Politics in Development (London; Zed Books), pp. 1-36. (3/17)
3. Elissa Braunstein. 2013. Gender, Growth and Employment. Development 56(1): 103-113. (3/17)
4. Wendy Harcourt and Arturo Escobar. 2005. Introduction: Practices of Difference. In W. Harcourt and
A. Escobar, eds. Women and the Politics of Place (Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press), pp. 1-17. (3/19)
5. Wendy Harcourt. 2009. Body Politics in Development (London; Zed Books), pp. 38-67. (3/19))
6. Alice Hovorka. 2013. The Case for a Feminist Foodscape Framework. Development 56(1): 123128. (3/19)
Web Resources:
Pathways of Womens empowerment:
Women in Development Europe (WIDE):
Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN):
Gender and Economic Reforms in Africa (GERA):
The Womens Edge Coalition:
World March of Women:

Week X. Global climate change and sustainability (See last page for web resources)
1. Bill McKibben. 2012. Global Warmings Terrifying New Math. RollingStone, August 2. (3/24)
2. World Meteorological Organization. 2013. A Summary of Current Climate Change Findings and

3. Naomi Klein. 2014. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. New York: Simon
and Schuster, pp. 1-63. (3/24)
4. Watch: The Story of Cap and Trade: (3/24)
5. Naomi Klein. 2014. This Changes Everything, pp. 293-336, 419-466. (3/26)

Week XI. Food, Agriculture, and Development

1. Shiva, Soil Not Oil, 95-132. (3/31)
2. Watch:
3. Annette A. Desmerais. 2007. La Via Campesina. Globalization and the Power of Peasants (Halifax:
Fernhood Publishing), pp. 5-39. (3/31)
4. Via Campesina. 2009. Small scale sustainable farmers are cooling down the earth. (3/31)
5. Via Campesina. 2010. Sustainable Peasant and Family Farm Agriculture Can Feed the World. (3/31)
6. Development and Social Change, ch. 9, pp. 251-283. (4/2)
Via Campesia. 2011. Stop Land Grabbing. (4/2)
7. Via Campesina. 2008. Food Sovereignty For Africa: A Challenge At Fingertips. (4/2)
(Nyelene Declaration).
8. Tom Philcott. 2012. The future of urban agriculture should inspire its future. Grist. (4/2)
Some web resources on food, trade and technology:
Va Campesina:
ETC Group:
Genetic Resources Action International, GRAIN:
Institute for Food and Development Policy:
Focus on the Global South (Focus):
Third World Network:

Week XII. Globalization and development: recent issues and trends

1. Development and Social Change, Ch. 8, pp. 216-249. (4/7)
2. Gustavo Esteva, et. al. The Future of Development, Ch. 7. (4/7)

4. Development and Social Change, Ch. 10 (pp. 285-303). (4/9)

Part Five. Some Ways Forward

Week XIII. Are Alternative Economies Possible?
1. J.K. Gibson-Graham et al. Take Back the Economy, Ch. 2-3, pp.17-83. (4/14)
2. J.K. Gibson-Graham et al. Take Back the Economy, Ch. 5, pp. 125-158. (4/14)
3. J.K. Gibson-Graham et al. Take Back the Economy, Ch. 6, Conclusion, pp. 159-197. (4/16)
4. Charles Eisenstein. Sacred Economics (Berkeley: Evolver Editions, 2011), pp. 347-378, 427-446.
Web resources:
The Community Economies project:
International Forum on Globalization (IFG):
Center for a New American Dream:
Co-op America:
Gar Alperovits:

Week XIV. Social movements, alternative development, and alternatives to development

1. Development and Social Change, Ch. 7, pp. 182-214. (4/21)
2. Gustavo Esteva, et. al. The Future of Development, Ch. 3. (4/21)
3. Gustavo Esteva. Celebration of Zapatismo, Humboldt Journal of Social relations 29(1): 127-167.
4. Michal Osterweil. In press. Social Movements. In D. Nonini, ed. Companion to Urban
Anthropology (Oxford: Wiley Blackwell). (4/23)
5. Soil, Not Oil, Conclusion (pp. 132-144). (4/23)
Transition Network:
Future Earth:
The New Earth Project:

Websites / internet resources on climate change/ sustainable development:

Triggers on climate change, sustainable development, and transitions:
The Story of Cap and Trade:
Peoples Agreement of Cochabamba:
Earth Charter:
United Nations:
COP 17 (Durban):
UN Environment Program, UNEP:
Rio + 20:
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC:
UN Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, DESA:
UN-DESA Div. of Sustainable Development (See CSD):
United Nations Development Program, UNDP:
Convention on Biological Diversity:
Agenda 21:
Millennium Ecosystems Assessment:
Center for Civil Society, Durban:
Corner House:
Climate Progress:
Climate and Capitalism:
Via campesina:
Mainstream NGOs:
Nature Conservancy:
World Wildlife Fund, WWF:
World Resources Institute, WRI:
Intl. Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN:
Clean Energy Group:
Critical NGOs/publications:
Corner House:
Friends of the Earth:
Centro Latinoamericano de Ecologa Social, CLAES:
Accion Ecolgica (Quito):
Social network for sustainability: