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About this book

This book discusses the geopolitics of development from the point of view of the Global South. Written by scholars and development experts from Africa, Asia, and Latin America, this volume presents reflections on various historical, current, and future trajectories of development in the contemporary Global South.

The book is divided into five parts. Part I focuses on the relationship of development in the Global South to globalization, discussing the diversity of situations across countries in structural terms. Part II critiques and analyzes the concept and paradigms of development, emphasizing alternative discourses and policy models. Part III focuses on the analysis of the relationship between environment and development, showing how environmental conditions have become a key factor in the renewal of development thinking. Part IV examines different cultural strategies and conceptions constituting the basis of development thinking and policy in different fields. Part V addresses the construction of knowledge pertaining to the Global South, revisiting the theoretical trajectory of development models and advocating for the construction of new ideas around the region.

Providing a multidimensional look at development in the Global South, this volume will benefit academics, development experts, and postgraduate students interested in having a global vision of the ideas of development in different territorial and cultural fields.

Table of Contents


1. A Kaleidoscope of Ideas for Rethinking Development in the Global South

The concept of “development” continues to condense aspirations for the improvement and progress of living conditions in “less developed” societies. It is very difficult to take stock of what has happened over the seven decades of the concept of development, there are some key elements that deserve to be highlighted. Although it can be said that the living conditions of “less developed” societies have improved “in absolute terms”, they have not improved “in relative terms”: the world is an increasingly unequal place. Another key idea or situation is that we are currently witnessing a paradox: on the one hand, the idea of development continues to structure a considerable mass of discourse and practices; on the other hand, it is increasingly criticized by large groups of experts, intellectuals and activists. We believe that we cannot unilaterally join the trend of those who proclaim the massive abandonment of the notion of development. This notion remains relevant for the countries of the South, even if it is increasingly necessary to rework it in depth, both in theoretical terms and in terms of identifying and highlighting concrete experiences that can be used as a reference to overcome development problems.
Rahma Bourqia, Marcelo Sili

Globalization, Dependencies and New Geopolitical Scenarios for Thinking About Development


2. African Perspectives on Development in the Context of a Changing International System

African development has been largely shaped by developments in the international political system since its integration into this system as colonies, but even more so since independence from the mid-twentieth century. This chapter traces the impact of significant developments in this system on African development since decolonization, and continental, sub-regional and national responses of African countries to these changes. It examines official national and regional approaches to development, as well as the views of African scholars on these approaches and on African development in general during various historical phases of development, with a focus on key changes in the international system in each phase. It is argued that the current international system is shaped by three significant changes that unfolded after 1992: the rise of China as a global economic power; the growing threat to multilateralism and globalisation; and Russia’s new international role. How these changes unfold in the future and Africa responds to these changes shapes development continentally, sub-regionally and nationally.
Crain Soudien, Gregory Houston

3. African Economic Autonomy and International Development Cooperation

After independence in the 1960s, many African countries are still under the control of big powers in economic, social and cultural fields, especially by means of international aid. Africa’s economic autonomy is a key issue related to the healthy and sustainable development of Africa. It is true that various African countries have received aid since independence. Western aid to Africa has not been a small amount, but the effect is poor, a fact recognized by Western academia and governments. The author explains what autonomy of a sovereign government means in international relations, analyzes the economic autonomy of African countries both in strategy and action, compares the aid effect in the West and Emerging Market (case of China), and argues that only by having the right to govern its own affairs in various field, self-reliance, and self-determination in its domestic and international affairs, can African countries regain economic autonomy so that they can realize sustainable development. It is proposed that China should respond resolutely to the current international aid system by having the courage to hold high the moral and just banner of international development cooperation, cherishing the ideal and wisdom to serve the community of common destiny, and carrying out bold innovations to create a new system of development cooperation with other international partners.
Anshan Li

4. Deindustrialization, Natural Resources, and New Developmentism: The Case of Brazil

The main objective of this article is to provide a brief reflection on the process of deindustrialization in the largest economy in Latin America, Brazil, and also to present some proposals for economic policies to deal with it. The article deals with deindustrialization and its relation with the abundance of natural resources. After having identified the main arguments concerning the deindustrialization, we present the case of Brazil, a country where the deindustrialization process and its relation to the abundance of natural resources is the subject of economic policy debate.
Georges Gérard Flexor, Robson Dias da Silva

5. What Can Be the Position of Africa in the Contemporary Globalisation? A Few Thoughts in the Matter…

The article propose a general and comprehensive explanation of the impact of globalization in the Global South, using Africa as a regional case study on the possible alternatives for development without losing control to the Western bloc or with the Chinese bloc of global powers. This chapter presents the issues facing development from a general perspective that closes first part of the book by highlighting the issues surrounding development today.
Alioune Sall

Critique and Renewal of Development Thinking


6. Development Economics from the Bubble Burst to the Search for a New Paradigm. A Few Historical Milestones and Theoretical Approaches

Around the globe, the economic development models that were inherited from the twentieth century have reached not only their peak, but they are leading the international community into a real dead-end, and to a world that is filled with endless uncertainties. Therefore, all states, societies and economies are urged to radically change the extant models of production, consumption, distribution, exchange and cooperation. They are also called upon to redefine their priorities based on their populations’ rudimentary and basic needs. In this context, since its establishment within the field of economics at the end of the Second World War, development economics has investigated the causes of underdevelopment and explored the possibilities and means of its eradication. The historical analysis embedded in this field of knowledge enables the identification of five temporal phases that correspond to five approaches underlying development-related issues. This contribution attempts to analyze the ins and outs of these approaches and phases, and aims to identify new development challenges and provide possible remedies for change.
Driss Guerraoui

7. Dead-Ends of a Development Process Imposed from Above: Deconstruction of the Concept of “Partnership”

This article suggests a critical analysis of development projects in the Mediterranean region, mainly for the Southern countries. It concerns primarily the ones conceived based on the Euro-Mediterranean Conference (November 1995) and on the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) suggested by France in 2008 under the framework of the Project for the Mediterranean. They both advocates for a new approach to the concept of development in the Maghreb and in Morocco. In this part of the world, many projects have faced recurring problems such as cultural underpinnings that reside in the initiators’ mentalities, contradictory agendas and interests, or various political maneuvers and circumvention schemes. This reflection aims at outlining the causes behind the failure of these two projects submitted by the Europeans to the Mediterranean population. In addition to the authoritarian, self-destructing polices and knots of adversities that are causing difficulties between to the two shores, the Northern partners are hardly making efforts in terms of investments and commitments for the realization of the proposed programs. In addressing these multi-dimensional challenges, and restrictions imposed by economic globalization, the article argues that economic development is being shaped, essentially, within the framework of the national state and calls for a genuine and endogenous strategy in the conception of a possible model of development.
Mohammed Noureddine Affaya

8. New Discourses on Development

This chapter introduces and analyses the preliminary results of a larger study that explores the connection between new discourses on development and the imagined futures for Latin America. A primary assumption guides the whole proposal: collective imagination does not work in a vacuum; far from it, it operates within a “social discourse”, which sets limits to the thinkable (Angenot), and within a “regime of historicity”, which organizes our relationship with temporality (Hartog). The chapter sustains that a productive mode of approaching the ways by which we imagine the region’s futures is to think in terms of more or less defined discursive configurations on development. It assumes that knowing and understanding these configurations can help us capture in an organized way the diversity of the voices that dispute and confront each other, more or less fiercely, on development and imagined futures. The adjective new refers to the last three decades –it is not a completely arbitrary choice, since “1990” represents a “breaking point” in several senses: geopolitical, technological, environmental. Using tools taken from the structural analysis of ideological discourses, the chapter sketches a stylized profile of the images about the future related to each configuration, working on materials considered illustrative/contrastive.
Andrés Kozel, Marcelo Sili

The Ecological Transition as Key Factors for Change and Renewal of Development Models


9. The Environment and Development Debate in India: The “Greening” of Developmental Discourse

The chapter reviews the last seven decades of developmental discourse in India. It specifically, analyses, how the question of environment was dealt in the developmental discourse. For long, economic and social transformations remained the primary objective of the developmental policies/interventions in the country. Over the last five decades, varieties of environmentalism (state, market and community led) emerged and circulated at multiple scales. However, even after more than five decades of engagement with the environmental question, the dominant developmental models in India do not adequately engage with issues of inter and intra generational social justice and environmental sustainability. In this background, the paper describes the “greening” of the development discourse and decipher the fundamental assumptions and values which this “greening” entails.
Aviram Sharma

10. The 2030 Agenda, the Territorial Dimension of Brazilian Development and the Drivers of Sustainability Transition 

The chapter aims to analyze the practices and narratives about Brazil’s development in the beginning of the twenty-first century. The current model, based on the increasing of primary goods production, is criticized for its negative consequences, especially with regard to inequality and environmental impacts. However, in addition to this general characteristic, the country’s recent trajectory has also resulted in different regional profiles, making the search for alternatives more complex. The differences involve the degree of urbanization, economic diversification, and ways of using natural resources, giving rise to at least three major types of territories. The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals can be an opportunity for the emergence of new paths, especially if it manages a dialogue with this territorial diversity. For this, some vectors for an ecological transition and transformations already underway are presented.
Arilson Favareto

11. Nature and Alternatives to Development in Latin America: Contributions for a Dialogue

Although there is a long history and evidence on a systematic critic to the politics and concept of sustainable development and there are several well-known facts about the unsustainability of this discourse especially form the Global South, the mainstream politics of the Global North (and partially from the South) still insists in it. Therefore, is a need of alternatives to development. This chapter will argue the important contributions of the environmental thinking in Latina America and how it has been consolidating some theoretical clarifications and critiques that has progressed over decades up to contemporary environmental discussions and its criticisms of development. Therefore, in the new millennium, in Latin American critical thinking is now working on post-development issues, concerned with its relationship with the natural environment, which has been shown by the indigenous communities and their proposal of suma qamaña or sumak kawsay. But it requires a review and rethinking of hegemonic knowledge, which will need intercultural dialogues, where the fundamental challenge consists of listening, seeing, respecting the other one different, and learning. So in the last part of the chapter are some initial proposals and perspectives for that dialogue.
María Luisa Eschenhagen

The Role of Culture in New Pathway Construction and Sense of Development


12. Culture, Resilience and Geopolitics of Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

Resilience allows the continuity of solidarity relations in a socio-cultural area distributed among several States. Beyond language and culture, resilience can be a factor of spontaneous integration, facilitating the rapid care of victims in the event of armed conflict, natural disaster. Unfortunately, resilience, in its classic design, is foreseen in the post-crisis period and is only studied on a reduced scale of territoriality. In a perspective of development geopolitics and the challenges of the contemporary world, it is more than imperative to implement it at a global proportion on the scale of political and economic and environmental groupings such as the Economic Community of African States of West (ECOWAS), West African Monetary Union (WAMU), G5-Sahel, the Inter-State Committee to Combat Drought in the Sahel (CILSS), etc. whose common goal is to promote sub-regional integration for sustainable development. To this end, this analysis highlights the importance of harmonizing national cultural policies on the basis of overall cultural mapping and planning in order to identify positive ancestral practices in crisis situations and foster resilience. Post-crisis in an area like Sub-Saharan Africa to asymmetric wars, to the vagaries of cyclical droughts causing displacement of populations and humanitarian disasters.
Saley Boubé Bali

13. He and Tianxia, Vectors of a New Dynamic of China’s Development

This article analyzes the role that “He” (Harmony) and “Tianxia” (All under Heaven) has had as cultural vectors of the new dynamics of China’s development. The author shows how China has undergone a shift from a largely agrarian society to an industrial powerhouse, but the focus of this chapter is to analyze the relation between the fast economic development of China and the underlying traditional philosophy and culture. This chapter shows that Chinese models of development are deeply rooted in the soil of Ancient China, which is interrelated with the terms such as He (Harmony) and Tianxia (all under Heaven).
Zhang Jingting

14. Bhutan & Gross National Happiness

The authors present how Bhutan has revised the concept of development quantified through gross national happiness. The authors point out that along with development and the fulfillment of most basic human needs across the world, there has been a transition in the public discourse of how to increase life satisfaction, while also addressing the challenge of sustainability and environmental protection. The United Nations has helped incite this switch of perspective by supporting many holistic initiatives such as the World Happiness Report (WHR), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and the Human Development Index (HDI) which has been around since the early 90s. With these changes, Bhutan, a small Himalayan country using happiness instead of money as the main indicator for decision making, and which is the only carbon negative country in the world, has begun to draw international attention. This article analyzes the concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Bhutan, its history, cultural relevance, scope, potentials, and limitations. It also looks at some of the challenges Bhutan is facing in regard to accomplishing its ambitious goals, as well as some valuable lessons it has to teach the rest of the world.
Diego Burger Araujo Santos, Sangay Dorji

15. The Community and the Paths of Critical Thinking in the Global Periphery: The Cases of sumak kawsay/suma qamaña and Ubuntu

The romanticized rereading of a communal past is a central theme for a considerable part of critical thinking in the global periphery of capitalism. Concepts based on a holistic and communitarian vision of the world, extended family, and community, mixed with elements of European political philosophy, are recurrent. The idea of a shared communal heritage that ensures a direct transition to an egalitarian society, without the need to go through the trials of classical capitalist development, seems to be the common reason for peripheral critical thinking. These proposals assume a specific relationship with historical time: they project a future articulated with the past. It suggests that a common perception is that if something was possible in the past, it may be possible in the future. This kind of propositions is analysed in this chapter comparing two original projects of development, proposed in several countries in Latin America and Africa through two key concepts: the Sumak Kawsay/Suma Qamaña (good living) in Latin America and Ubuntu in Africa.
Fabricio Pereira da Silva

16. A Women’s Imaginaries Regarding Development and Well-Being

This work reveals some of the resignifications of development ideas and well-being related to expectations about migration parting from the imaginaries of women that are in contact with international Mexico-U.S. migration. This chapter is based on women’s stories, compiled in multi-sited ethnographic work during several fieldwork seasons in Michoacan, Mexico and Chicago, Illinois. The authors analyzed different interviews from wives, daughters, sisters and mothers of migrants, equally from women who decided to migrate. From the collected stories, we could observe elements and categories identified by women as part of welfare and development sense, offering different dimensions in public and private to be examined, such as body, motherhood, relationships, family and work, as well as the construction process of aspirations and future. These women involving migration share a conjunct of imaginaries prior to the migratory experience, which are transformed during and after the event, whether by micro or macrostructural conditions that depend on valorization scales that may be subjective, similarly to the emotional condition of each person involved in the migratory process.
Diana Tamara Martínez-Ruíz, Alejandra Ceja-Fernández, Martha González-Lázaro

Knowledges and Ideas to Build a New Sense for Development in the Global South


17. Alternative Knowledge on the Global South

The author addresses a criticism of the theoretical legacy on the concept of development. The history of development in countries of the South provides lessons to be learned in this quest for cognitive alternatives in the context of globalization. It is a reflection on the process of construction of a concept dealing with a duality differentiating developed societies from underdeveloped ones. Development therefore was constructed around the paradigm of modernization and the cash up, that has dominated debates and approaches on constraints facing most of the countries in the world, even within some international organizations dealing with the issue of development. However, the world is no longer bipolarized between modern and traditional societies or between a developed West and an underdeveloped South. Instead, it is multipolar as illustrated by the differentiated trajectories of countries, which has allowed for alternative forms of development, in a context where globalization that has created other types of disparities between countries. Advocates of globalization praise its benefits and opportunities for the integration of developing countries into the world economy, but this globalization has created new inequalities between North and South countries, and has sometimes split regions within the same country be it in the South or the North. This contribution is a theoretical reflection on development in order to identify new challenges facing the Global South in a globalized world, while focusing on the role that education, knowledge, and technological mastery have played in certain development models, in order to create alternative knowledge and pathways that can benefit the Global South.
Rahma Bourqia

18. Peripheral Thought: Intellectualities Beyond the Center

This chapter presents a conversation between Eduardo Devés and Andrés Kozel. Of Chilean origin, Devés is one of the few authors who treats peripheral thought (or the Global South) as a whole. In this exchange, Devés addresses the main issues explored in his books Pensamiento periférico and Estudios eidéticos (not yet translated into English): the common denominators or patterns of peripheral thought; the tension/alternance between centralitarian and identity-based attitudes; the possibilities and limits of the circulation of ideas among the intelligences of the Global South. Some of the main theoretical and methodological challenges of this type of studies are explored, and considerations are made around the notion of “eidetic development” and the links between ideas and development in our time.
Eduardo Devés, Andrés Kozel


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