Thursday, 2 December 1999

From "Imagining a Post-Development Era? Critical Thought, Development and Social"

By Arturo Escobar (Social Text, No. 31/32, Third World and Post-Colonial Issues (1992) p. 48-49)

The recent struggles in the Third World go well beyond the principles of equality, relations of production and democracy; moreover, they constitute arenas for redefining and recovering these terms. Even the possibility of building a "counter-hegemonic formation" through articulation, as Laclau and Mouffe suggest, seems to be contrary to the movements' practices and would evince a type of rationality that popular movements may not share. This does not mean that alliances may not take place. They certainly do and must. In fact, networks of popular movements are appearing in several countries and internationally (in the case of indigenous peoples and women). But social movements are not ruled by the logic of all or nothing; they must consider the contradictory and multiple voices present in such experiences without reducing them to an unitary logic [...]

In the long run, it is a matter of generating new ways of seeing, of renewing social and cultural self-descriptions by displacing the categories with which Third World groups have been constructed by dominant forces, and by producing views of reality which make visible the numerous loci of power of those forces; a matter of "regenerating people's spaces" or creating new ones, with those who have actually survived the age of modernity and development by resisting it or by insinuating themselves creatively in the circuits of capital and modernization.

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