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Can the anti-politics machine be dismantled?

Venugopal, Rajesh ORCID: 0000-0002-7498-7712 (2022) Can the anti-politics machine be dismantled? New Political Economy, 27 (6). 1002 - 1016. ISSN 1356-3467

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13563467.2022.2045926


This paper engages with a central problem in development studies: why is development so depoliticised, and how can this be remedied? It does so by providing a theoretical/conceptual framework of the way that the ‘political’ and the ‘technical’ are constructed as a cognitive gap in the inner frame of the development planner. Drawing on Scott, Schmitt, Weber, Horkheimer & Adorno, and the critical development literature, it argues that politics presents itself to the planner as a sphere of uncertainty that can disrupt project outcomes. Knowledge production about development politics, for example through political economy analysis, is thus a compulsion that arises from the need to govern this source of uncertainty. The politics rendered legible and decoded in this way is also ipso facto no longer part of the political unknown, but now belongs to the realm of the technical. The implications of this framework are that the anti-politics machine will perpetually regenerate itself. The work of mitigating technocratic excess is productive, but it is a Sisyphian labour that will not have a clean or satisfying end-date.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2022 The Author
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2022 14:33
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2024 07:21

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