Contesting Development : Critical Struggles for Social Change book cover
1st Edition

Contesting Development
Critical Struggles for Social Change

Edited By

Philip McMichael

ISBN 9780415873321
Published December 17, 2009 by Routledge
288 Pages

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Book Description

At a time when the development promise is increasingly in question, with dwindling social gains, the vision of modernity is losing its legitimacy and coherence. This moment is observable through the lens of critical struggles of those who experience disempowerment, displacement and development contradictions.

In this book, case studies serve as an effective means of teaching key concepts and theories in the sociology of development. This collection of cases, all original, never previously published and with framing essays by Phillip McMichael, has been written with this purpose in mind.

An important additional feature is that the book as a whole reveals the limiting assumptions of development and suggests alternate conditions of possibility for social existence in the world today. In that sense, the book pushes the boundaries of "thinking about development" and makes an important theoretical contribution to the literature.

Table of Contents

1. Changing the Subject of Development  2. Have they Disabled Us? Liquor Production and Grammars of Material Distress in Rural India  3. Cities without Citizens: A Perspective on the Struggle of Abahlali baseMjondolo, the Durban Shackdweller Movement  4. Where does the Rural Educated Person Fit in a Market Society? Negotiating Social Reproduction in Contemporary India  5. Re-imagining the Nature of Development: Biodiversity Conservation and Pastoral Visions in the Northern Areas, Pakistan  6. Marketing and Militarizing Elections? Social Protest, Extractive Security and the De/Legitimation of ‘Civilian Transition’ in Nigeria and Mexico  7. The Land is Changing: Contested Agricultural Narratives in Northern Malawi  8. The Poverty of Neoliberalism in Chiapas, Mexico: Gendered Resistance via Neo-Zapatista Network Politics  9. Corporate Mobilization on the Mato Grosso Soybean Frontier, Brazil  10. Recoveries of Space and Subjectivity in the Shadow of Violence: the Clandestine Politics of Pavement Dwellers in Mumbai  11. Mobilizing Agrarian Citizenship: a New Rural Paradigm for Brazil  12. Demilitarizing Sovereignty: Self-Determination and Anti-Military Base Activism in Okinawa, Japan  13. Decolonizing Knowledge: Education, Inclusion, and the Afro-Brazilian Anti- Racist Struggle  14. Challenging Market Fundamentalisms: the Emergence of ‘Ethics, Cosmovisions, and Spiritualities’ in the World Social Forum  15. Development and its Discontents

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Philip McMichael is Professor of Development Sociology at Cornell University. His research focuses on the politics of globalization, agrarian change, and climate change. Author of Development and Social Change, he recently prepared a report for UNRISD on the food crisis, and works with La Vía Campesina and the food sovereignty movement.


"Contesting Development is a fascinating collection of case studies from different parts of the world demonstrating how poor people who are excluded from the project of development challenge not just its performance but also its premises. It will be required reading in courses in disciplines such as sociology, anthropology, geography, women's studies, urban studies and planning, and public policy."—Akhil Gupta, Anthropology, University of California, Los Angeles

"This collection of essays is one of the most compelling responses to the mainstream project of Development available today. The cases go beyond all of the usual rhetoric to show how people live, struggle, negotiate and endure their situations. Each chapter tells a rich story that - even in the midst of poverty and violence - evokes the possibility of change."—Wendy Wolford, Geography, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"The book is more than a wonderful collection of case studies of critical struggles against neoliberal globalization, local-based with global meaning. It is a remarkable work that gives voice to the excluded, the ‘losers,’ the disempowered of the non-Western world, and offers a new approach for understanding them, their lives, their struggles for another development and another possible world."—Gianni Piazza, University of Catania, in Contemporary Sociology 40, 1