Written by 19:03 Articoli, Geotema 48

Geotema 48 – Rethinking geography, development co-operation and the african peasant

Hans Holmén

Rethinking geography, development co-operation and the african peasant

Abstract: Rethinking geography, development co-operation and the african peasant

Africa’s poverty has urged many outsiders (NGOs, activists, scholars) to help Africa develop – despite the fact that “development” is often poorly understood. Many interventions have failed because they were based on unrealistic assumptions. Too much effort has been directed at “development as project” (a purposeful undertaking) and too little at “development as process” (something we can learn about). Many helpers – scholars among them – seem more concerned about being seen to do something, rather than about the slow and tedious struggle to try and understand the world. This has often turned out to be counter-productive. If, as geographers, we really want to co-operate for development we have, due to our discipline’s holistic tradition, something better to offer: a contextual approach and more comprehensive analyses. Thereby we might improve the outcome of other agents’ activities. After all, this is what we have been trained for. As activists and politicians we remain amateurs.

Keywords: Development as project, development as process, NGOs, african peasants.

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