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This book addresses the role of knowledge in economic development and in resistance to development. It questions the conventional view that development is the application of superior knowledge to the problems of poor countries, and that resistance to development comes out of ignorance and superstition. It argues instead that the basis of resistance is the fear that the material benefits of Western technologies can be enjoyed only at the price of giving up indigenous ways of knowing and valuing the world, an idea fostered as much by present-day elites, who have internalized colonial elites who ruled before them. A prerequisite to decoupling Western technologies from these political entailments is to understand the conflict between different ways of knowing and valuing the world. This book differs from previous critiques of development because it addresses neither the strategy nor the tactics of development, but the very conception itself. Its focus is on knowledge and power in the development process. The book argues that 'modern' knowledge wins out in the conflict with 'traditional' knowledge not because of its superior cognitive power, but because of its prestige, associated both with the economic and political ascendancy of the West over the past 500 years and with the cultural history of the West itself.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780198286943
ISBN-10: 0198286945
Format: Hardback
(243mm x 161mm x 25mm)
Pages: 306
Imprint: Clarendon Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 23-Aug-1990
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


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