‘The Romance of Resistance and the Politics of Rescue in Post-Development Alternatives’
Dr. Kiran Asher,
Centre for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia.
Post-development is a precursor to the current call towards a post-development, post-capitalist, and post-state world. Both are critical of mainstream development, and posit that the “grounds-up” knowledges of people marginalized by colonial modernity and western science hold the promise of more equitable and sustainable alternatives to it. This paper outlines and critically assesses the premises of post-development and its new incarnation, which it refers to as a “dash to the post”. It contends that they conflate analysis and politics, and their resulting proposals for “alternatives to development” rest on rhetorical rejections and simple reversals. That is, they romanticize resistance and engage in an identity politics of rescue. Furthermore, it argues that scholars committed to struggles for social justice must wrestle with the dilemmas of development by taking on the tasks left incomplete in Post-development and “Dash to the post”.
Grounded in two decades of field-based research in Latin America and South Asia, Dr. Kiran Asher’s diverse research interests focus on the gendered and raced dimensions of social and environmental change in the global south. Her publications include a monograph, Black and Green: Afro-Colombians, Development, and Nature in the Pacific Lowlands (2009). She is currently working on a theoretical and political critique of development theories and post-development proposals by drawing on feminist and marxist approaches in a postcolonial frame. From 2002-2013, she was Associate Professor of International Development and Social Change at Clark University, Massachusetts. Currently she is working as a Senior Scientist in the Forests and Livelihoods Program, at the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), in Bogor, Indonesia. In August 2015, she will join the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as a tenured Associate Professor.