Masking and Unmasking: A Neo-Colonial World

April Biccum (Nottingham University, UK)

This paper will pose the question, in light of nearly a century of failed 'development' and in conjunction with the current unabated climate of globalisation/neo-Colonialism: why in the seventy-five years since the beginning of the 'post-colonial' period has there been no significant and little sustained development in the so-called third world. What needs to be questioned more rigorously moreover is the very logic and desirability of the entire project of development itself, given what I will propose is its inseparability from projects of subordination. If the rhetoric of development in political thought coming to the fore after 1945 posits itself as an epistemology of liberation is must be asked: what kind of freedom is being sought? From what? And within the rhetoric of liberation what kind of continued subordination is being masked and whose ends does it serve after all? This paper will be a preliminary investigation into the language of development in political theory, recasting and understanding it as a rhetoric of neo-Colonialism, as a shift in vocabulary from the older colonial rhetoric of "civilisation". It will address the discourse of development as a fundamental contradiction drawing particularly on the critiques of modernity and temporality raised within post-colonial theory, most specifically in the work of Homi Bhabha, and it will reconsider the discourse of development in light of Homi Bhabha's articulation of the workings of colonial discourse.

Postcolonial OV discourseov Casablanca Conference

Last modified: 7 May 2001