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Critiquing ‘race’ and racism in development discourse and practice

Critiquing ‘race’ and racism in development discourse and practice


Progress in Development Studies 6, 1 (2006) pp. 1-7 (C) 2006 Edward Arnold (Publishers) Ltd 10.1191/1464993406ps123ed I `Race' in developmentForms of racism and expressions that articulate ideas about `race' are fluid and multiple,contingent and contextual, ranging from overt to covert and unreflexive. Historicallyand geographically rooted, such expressions have become increasingly variegated, evendetached from their originary impulses, and can travel far and wide. It is in this spirit ofcritical enquiry that the papers in this special issue aim to reveal some of the tenaciousstrands of racialized forms of knowing and representing in development discourseand practice. This is a realm that has remained curiously untouched by the post-colonial critiques and debates about `race' in other social science disciplines (see Biccum,2002). Together, the papers attempt to disrupt these `disturbing silences, banalisationsand erasures' (Grovogui, 2001: 437) and, focusing on a diverse range of issues fromvarying perspectives, question the absence of discussions around `race'. They suggest howunderstanding development in terms of `race' can spotlight inadequacies, contradictions andmisrepresentations in development ideologies, policies and practices, as well as relationsof power. Escobar (1995) argues that discourses of(western) development discursively produce the third world as different and inferior, and accordingly as its object of study and inter-vention.
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