The Anti-politics Machine: "development," Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho
U of Minnesota Press, 1994 - Business & Economics - 320 pages
Development, it is generally assumed, is good and necessary, and in its name the West has intervened, implementing all manner of projects in the impoverished regions of the world. When these projects fail, as they do with astonishing regularity, they nonetheless produce a host of regular and unacknowledged effects, including the expansion of bureaucratic state power and the translation of the political realities of poverty and powerlessness into "technical" problems awaiting solution by "development" agencies and experts. It is the political intelligibility of these effects, along with the process that produces them, that this book seeks to illuminate through a detailed case study of the workings of the "development" industry in one country, Lesotho, and in one "development" project. Using an anthropological approach grounded in the work of Foucault, James Ferguson analyzes the institutional framework within which such projects are crafted and the nature of "development discourse," revealing how it is that, despite all the "expertise" that goes into formulating development projects, they nonetheless often demonstrate a startling ignorance of the historical and political realities of the locale they are intended to help. In a close examination of the attempted implementation of the Thaba-Tseka project in Lesotho, Ferguson shows how such a misguided approach plays out, how, in fact, the "development" apparatus in Lesotho acts as an "anti-politics machine," everywhere whisking political realities out of sight and all the while performing, almost unnoticed, its own pre-eminently political operation of strengthening the state presence in the local region.James Ferguson is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of California at Irvine.
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activities administration agricultural analysis animals apparatus association attempt authority Bank Basotho better cash cattle changes Chapter chief CIDA claims clear Committee continue Coordinator course crop decentralization dependent discourse discussed District Division economic Education effects establishment fact farmers farming Figure forces fund give given grazing Health household important improved increase industry institutions integrated interests interventions involved keeping labor land Lesotho less livestock Maseru meeting migrant mines Ministries mountain never noted Officer Operations owners percent Phase political poor position possible practices present problems production Programme question range reasons relations Report rules rural Rural Development seems seen sell simply social society sold Sotho South Africa staff structure suggested technical Thaba-Tseka Thaba-Tseka Project things traditional transformation village wage women workers World