ZEF Public Lecture: Constructing Development in the Global South: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Project 'Development' in Pakistan

June 2, 2022 | 13:30 h - 14:30 h

Constructing Development in the Global South: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Project 'Development' in Pakistan

… to be presented by Dr. Arslan Waheed, Assistant Professor the department of Development Studies of the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad and a ZEFa Alumnus.

Abstract:  No other concept has such a contested history and resilience as development. In the aftermath of the second world war, development is given a central position in the reordering of the world under the leadership of the USA. Development is not a set of performative actions. Rather, it is produced and reproduced over the years as a discourse (in the Foucauldian sense) that operates through a variety of categories of knowledge. In this way, development is not taken as a political program but as a set of beliefs. This set of beliefs, an undeniable truth, is exported to Pakistan, like the rest of the global south, through international institutions and technocrats. This paper attempts to understand the dissemination of development in Pakistan by focusing on the constructivist tendencies of development that employ various discursive strategies and language techniques to naturalize the socio-economic and political restructuring of societies like Pakistan. Taking the planning and development of Islamabad as the case study, this research finds that various labels, linguistics contrasts, othering, and social-economic identities were employed to construct the socio-materiality of development as a natural order of things. This constructivism of development is found in more than 150 planning and policies related documents from 1957 to 2018 and have shown the patronization and reproduction of power hierarchies, inequalities, exclusion, discrimination, and control.

Dr Arslan Wahhed, is teaching in National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad as an Assistant Professor in the department of Development Studies. He is a ZEF Alumnus and has completed his PhD from the University of Bonn. He has been a visiting fellow at the University of Brasilia. He has recently published his work in the Journal of Asian and African Studies and Social Sciences.

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Looking forward to see you there!

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