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Gatter, Philip Neal (1990) Indigenous and institutional thought in the practice of rural development : A study of an Ushi chiefdom in Luapula, Zambia. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis presents a critical analysis of rural, especially agricultural, development, viewed as social process. It considers how villagers and formal institutions understand economic activity, and how these differing perspectives inform patterns of practice. First, given that development is nominally about the formulation and implementation of ideas, the possibility of using the concept discourse as originated by Foucault is explored: an approach which treats concept and practice as reciprocally constitutive. The area first examined substantively is technical knowledge of agricultural production in Mabuunba. I show how techniques can be conceptually differentiated between "traditional" village methods and institutional interventions. This is followed by an exegesis of village political economy, stressing how kinship provides the foundation for an economy strongly premised on distributive processes. The third section examines the various formal institutions at work in the village, stressing a contrastive emphasis on the productive processes in themselves, particularly in relation to cash crop maize. Chapter nine then takes up the theme of productionism and distributionism as expressed in the political activities of the chief, to show how these different foci are arenas for the operation of power. The final chapter reviews the evidence, concluding that intervention articulated through maize (productionism) very closely resembles a Foucauldian discourse. Ideas about how maize should be grown are beginning to inform a new subjectivity for the grower: the modern, developed farmer who applies quantitative standards to the evaluation of production and people. It is shown how the discourse approach complements a more traditional Marxist one: by specifying the embodied processes through which capital becomes effective, and allowing for an ideological element in the determination of how people think and act, without granting ideology unqualified hegemonic status. Discourse in relation to agricultural research is reconsidered, suggesting some new ways forward, mindful of the limitations which productionism imposes.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:00

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