Development unlearned: (un)reading development literature between-the-lines

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This piece of work focuses on examining how development is defined for what it is not based on selected literature in development studies. It maps out how literature in development studies frame the ideas related to the knowledge construction of development, its mixed meanings and multiple understandings. Analysis is generated in light of Peter Wagner’s (2012) investigation of development under the lens of sensitivities to “multiple modernities” approach. This work argues that “multiple modernities” offers a grounded analysis of reading development literature that can continue further deliberations on development through selections of existing literature and situating these accounts to the intersection of changing dynamic in the international arena. Further, this work highlights the role of ambiguity as an underrated characteristic of development. This account is particularly relevant not only because it unpacks the meaning of development, but also because it situates its concerns under the current context of changing international politics. This task is an attempt to reconfigure ways of “societal self-understandings” (Ibid.) by taking into account the variety of conceptual transformations of development along intense political activities among institutions and social forces. It is hoped that this work can (re)spark discussions on development, its understandings and muted nuances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalOpen Journal for Sociological Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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  • development
  • development studies
  • multiple modernities
  • societal self-understandings
  • social and historical discourse
  • ambiguity


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