Wednesday, 27 February 2013

From IDS (Int'l Dev Studies) to CDS (Critical Dev Studies)


The power of the forces supportive of capitalist development—forces concerned to protect the new world order and to advance the capital accumulation process at any cost—is considerable, so that the forces of resistance need to mobilize any intellectual and political support they can. This is where Critical Development Studies comes in.

FROM IDS TO CDS
critdev@gmail.com
The Critical Development Studies Handbook
In the late 1960s and 1970s, a global divide in economic and social development gave rise to international development as a new area of study first by economists and then by sociologists, political scientists and partisans of other disciplines (Levitt, 1985). In the 1980s a variety of concerns and approaches in this study would be integrated into what has become known as ‘international development studies’ (IDS).

IDS programs were initiated in the UK, the Netherlands, India (Bangalore) and elsewhere. In the 1980s IDS as an interdisciplinary academic program was instituted in Canada and elsewhere across the world, initiating a program growth process that would eventually encompass even the US, where IDS programs have mushroomed recently.

On a worldwide basis universities that offer IDS academic programs now number in the thousands; the thematic focus of these programs, and the spread of course offerings, varies but all share a growing concern with the negative consequences and environmental, economic, social and political costs of the forces driving the global economy—costs borne by the many while the benefits are largely appropriated by the world’s wealthy who have the power, and he money, to accommodate a growing global consumerist middle class.

The concern with this situation, which, after two decades of neoliberal globalization, has reached grotesque proportions, is shared by a wide variety of scholars, researchers and activists all over the world who have organized in the struggle to mobilize the forces of resistance to the new world order. But this resistance in its diverse forms has had to confront, and is confronting, serious obstacles in the effort to bring about change—to save the planet and bring about a more sustainable form of development if not an entirely different system. The power of the forces supportive of capitalist development—forces concerned to protect the new world order and to advance the capital accumulation process at any cost—is considerable, so that the forces of resistance need to mobilize any intellectual and political support they can. This is where Critical Development Studies comes in.

There are areas and points of convergence, and shared interest, between the forces of capitalist development and the forces of resistance. Where the boosters of the capital accumulation, the guardians of the neoliberal world order, and the many and diverse forces of resistance brought together in the ‘antiglobalization movement’, come together is in the concern to manage the economic growth process—to promote or allow for a measure and form of industrialization and economic growth while taking measures to protect the ecological basis of this growth—the repository of the world’s natural resources—and to ensure more equity in the distribution of the world’s productive resources and the accumulated wealth.

At the level of development studies—IDS—the convergence is manifest in the evolution of a global movement directed toward what has been termed ‘another development’—a concern for development that is humane or human in form and scale, equitable and participatory, initiated from below and within civil society rather than from above and beyond, and that is sustainable in terms of both the environment, livelihoods and governance.

The concern for ‘another development’ is an element of CDS. But what distinguishes CDS from IDS is a greater concern for substantive social change. IDS generally takes the global capitalist system for granted, seeking only to reform it—harnessing it to broader interests than reflected in the global agenda of corporate capital. But CDS departs from the idea that capitalism cannot be reformed so as to bring about an equitable and truly human form of development for all. It is an intrinsic part of the problem requiring radical change or revolutionary transformation not reform. Minimally a better balance between the state and the market—a ‘mixed economy’, a system subjected to a regulatory regime of a development-welfare state. Possibly socialism in an as yet undetermined form—a system in which no one class has a proprietary interest in the means of social production, giving it the power to appropriate the social product. CDS does not view socialism as a panacea or as the only solution. In some forms it could also generate problems that it cannot resolve. What  is essential is to examine the institutional structure of the existing world system, not with a view towards reforming or humanizing it but to seriously question the system itself; to examine systematic alternatives, including alternative capitalist paths to development.

CDS WIKIhttp://gcds.pbwiki.comhttp://gcds.pbwiki.com/shapeimage_5_link_0
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