Disentangling the meanings of development

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/252451

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Koponen , M J 2014 , ' Disentangling the meanings of development ' , Suomen Antropologi , vol. 39 , no. 3 , pp. 24-34 .

Title: Disentangling the meanings of development
Author: Koponen, Matti Juhani
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Global Development Studies

Date: 2014
Language: eng
Number of pages: 11
Belongs to series: Suomen Antropologi
ISSN: 0355-3930
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/252451
Abstract: Development is a powerful but hopelessly slippery and evasive concept, yet scholars keep on defining and redefining it. Lately, it has been suggested that it is not possible to grapple with all the meanings of development and it is better to be understood as a temporary (assemblage'. This article takes issue with this suggestion. It argues that development is a historically evolved concept which has acquired many meanings in the course of its own development. Ambiguity and polyvalence are its integral features: without them it could not work as a concept. Yet it has meanings - even a core meaning. Concepts are words and the meanings of words are in the ways they are used. In practice, development is understood simultaneously as (1) a goal; (2) a process leading to that goal; and (3) an intervention triggering such a process. This composite meaning has been there since colonialism and seems to carry on despite all the announcements of its death. With it development continues to retain much of its evocative power. As long as this is the case we need development studies to sort out its intricacies. © 2014, Finnish Anthropological Society. All rights reserved.
Subject: 5203 Global Development Studies
615 History and Archaeology
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