Writing the history of development

Frederick Cooper

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Abstract

    Although some scholars think of economic development as a project of self-evident benevolence and others consider it as the imposition of an unwanted modernity, recent scholarship, such as the articles in this volume, suggests a more complex history. Colonial governments from the late 1930s sought to assert legitimacy and foster the co-operation of colonized people via development programmes, but development quickly became politicized - a basis for claims on the resources of empire, an insistence on voice in deciding what development policies should be. The history of development suggests that in the future as in much of the past the consequences of actions cannot be evaluated by generalizations about «modernity », neither by advocates of development initiatives nor by their critics. There is no substitute for specific analysis of who might find opportunities or constraints in programmes for economic change. Through the politics of development, poverty became an issue not only in remote parts of Africa or Asia, but also in New York and Geneva. Most important of all, the history of development is a history of changing expectations.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)5-23
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Modern European History
    Volume8
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Apr 15 2010

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    History
    Modernity
    Legitimacy
    1930s
    Geneva
    Colonies
    Africa
    Benevolence
    Government
    Asia
    Poverty
    Economic Change
    Economic Development
    Resources
    Imposition

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • History

    Cite this

    Writing the history of development. / Cooper, Frederick.

    In: Journal of Modern European History, Vol. 8, No. 1, 15.04.2010, p. 5-23.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    Cooper, F 2010, 'Writing the history of development', Journal of Modern European History, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 5-23.
    Cooper, Frederick. / Writing the history of development. In: Journal of Modern European History. 2010 ; Vol. 8, No. 1. pp. 5-23.
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