Reification and Alternatives to Development

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  • This thesis evaluates the post-development concept of “alternatives to development” from the perspectives of critical political economy and Western Marxism. Post-development theorists have long critiqued how development depoliticizes social life and suppresses alternative political imaginations. In formulating alternatives to this mode of social change, they emphasize place-based politics of cultural difference, premised on notions of coloniality, economic difference and autonomy. As I demonstrate, these theoretical positions are limiting, for they unnecessarily close off post-developmenttheory from potential strategies and allies. Alternatively, I argue that the Marxist concept of reification provides an alternative analytical framework which transcends these limitations. By highlighting the role of capitalist class relations in shaping subjectivity and limiting political imagination, the concept of reification thereby illuminates the conditions which make thinking and acting “otherwise” materially possible, while expanding the scope for social action beyond the margins of the capitalist world system.

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  • Copyright © 2013 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 2013


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