Reading maps in the dark: Route planning for development geography in a post-ist world

Piers Blaikie, L de Haan

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Development geographers are in as good a disciplinary position as many other areas of academia to study knowledge-power relations in government, administrations and multi-lateral organisations. Comparative North-South studies would be particularly useful here. Also, this area locates the romantic rural origins of neo-populism in much less inviting (but perhaps more interesting and relevant!) terrains of smoke-filled offices, back-room deals and contested representations of environment, nature and conservation. Also, this type of analysis can be extended to the development industry itself, which itself knows no national boundaries, and certainly none between North and South. Here, the vague generalisations about the globalisation of development discourse and policy can be anchored in carefully researched case studies. Here to comparative studies can be made of the rhetoric, politics and outcomes of the different approaches to development. One thing emerges from the variety of papers in this volume and it is that there is little distinction in practice between neo-populism, classic statist approaches and neo-liberalism. They appropriate the most attractive aspects of their rivals, employ various verbal strategies and it is possible that it does not make a great deal of difference except at the local level. Radical pessimism of a structuralist persuasion still throws its long shadow over development in spite of post-modern distractions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-164
JournalNederlandse Geografische Studies
Issue number240
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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