Taking post-development theory to the field

Issues in development research, Northern Thailand

Katharine McKinnon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Emerging post-development literatures consider how post-structural and post-colonial critiques of development could form the basis for new kinds of development practices. Much of the search for such post-development possibilities draws on new theories of discourse. This paper considers the challenges of bringing together empirical research and the experience of doing development with the often ethereal and deeply speculative work of discourse theorists. I reflect on the course taken by my own research in Northern Thailand, and discuss the possibilities that can emerge as theory confronts empirics, and conceptual frameworks are transformed through the daily politics of fieldwork.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-293
Number of pages13
JournalAsia Pacific Viewpoint
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008



  • Ethnography
  • Fieldwork
  • Governmentality
  • Hegemony
  • Southeast Asia

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