The Anti-politics Machine: "development," Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho
Development, it is generally assumed, is good and necessary, and in its name the West has intervened, implementing all manner of projects in the impoverished regions of the world. When these projects fail, as they do with astonishing regularity, they nonetheless produce a host of regular and unacknowledged effects, including the expansion of bureaucratic state power and the translation of the political realities of poverty and powerlessness into "technical" problems awaiting solution by "development" agencies and experts. It is the political intelligibility of these effects, along with the process that produces them, that this book seeks to illuminate through a detailed case study of the workings of the "development" industry in one country, Lesotho, and in one "development" project. Using an anthropological approach grounded in the work of Foucault, James Ferguson analyzes the institutional framework within which such projects are crafted and the nature of "development discourse," revealing how it is that, despite all the "expertise" that goes into formulating development projects, they nonetheless often demonstrate a startling ignorance of the historical and political realities of the locale they are intended to help. In a close examination of the attempted implementation of the Thaba-Tseka project in Lesotho, Ferguson shows how such a misguided approach plays out, how, in fact, the "development" apparatus in Lesotho acts as an "anti-politics machine," everywhere whisking political realities out of sight and all the while performing, almost unnoticed, its own pre-eminently political operation of strengthening the state presence in the local region.James Ferguson is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of California at Irvine.
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activities administration agencies agricultural analysis animals apparatus auctions bantustans Basotho Basotho National Party bridewealth Brown Swiss bureaucratic cash economy cattle Chapter CIDA claims Colin Murray commercial Committee crop decentralization development project discourse discussed District Coordinator District Development Division Dutkiewicz economic effects employment export fact FAO/World Bank 1975 farmers farming figures fund Government of Lesotho grazing association Health herd household important improved stock income industry integrated interests interventions land livestock livestock practices maize Maseru Mashai ment migrant labor mines Ministries Mosotho mountain Murray Mystique Officer organizational chart peasant percent Phase planners political population poverty production Programme question reasons relations relations of production rural development sell simply social society Sotho South Africa staff stock owners structure subsistence technical Thaba Thaba-Tseka District Thaba-Tseka Project traditional transformation Tseka TTCC velopment village wage labor women woodlots workers World Bank 1975 World Bank Report