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Synthesis and reflection paper: On postdevelopment and other radical critiques of development
Expected length: 4–5 double-spaced pages

We are now coming to the end of our circuitous journey through the debates in and about development theory since the end of World War 2. Our last stop in this journey has introduced us to some of the radical voices from outside the mainstream who moved beyond simply questioning whether the policies advocated by modernization theory or neoliberalism would ever achieve “development” in the Global South; these theorists and grassroots movements aimed their critique at a more fundamental level, questioning, as Escobar (2015: 4) puts it, the “core assumptions of development, including growth, progress, and instrumental rationality.”
In this paper I want you to write up your thoughts about this so-called postdevelopment perspective. In particular, I’d like for you to address the following questions:
• Why do postdevelopment and other radical critics of the development project advocate alternatives TO development, instead of alternative FORMS OF development?
• If they are calling for “a radical cultural and institutional transformation—a transition to an altogether different world” (Escobar 2015: 3), what would that look like?
• Do you believe their advocacy for this “altogether different world” is justified? Why or why not?
In answering these questions, please engage with the central ideas presented in the readings I assigned to you from Escobar (2015), Matthews (2004), and Esteva, Babones, and Babcicky (2013).

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After the development theories, which sought to increase development in all spheres, independent and group activists posed substantial criticism on the proposed development strategies. The primary criticism of the theories was their inability to achieve any significant progress despite the effective and immediate implementation. The critics argue that the theories concentrated on the western paradigm that ignored the requisite to modernize the world at a homogeneous pace and a deliberate disruption of the dependency theory. The key concerns of the scholars included the availability of better and more feasible alternatives, comprehensive transformation, and general sustainability of the in the future.

A. Alternatives
In the course of the debate, the scholars did not merely criticize the theories, but also offered alternatives that would rectify the various aspects ignored by the previous theories. In his work, Escobar proposes a development theory that focuses on the immediate societal needs as opposed to the west oriented modernization and capitalism....

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