An Agenda for Thinking about 'Race' in Development

  • Citation: Kothari, Uma. “An Agenda for Thinking about 'Race' in Development.” Progress in Development Studies 6, no. 1 (2006): 9–23.
    • Topics:
    • Reframing IR and Development
    • Keywords:
    • colonialism
    • exclusion
    • international development
    • knowledge
    • ‘race’
    • whiteness

This paper reveals some of the silences about ‘race’ in development ideologies, institutions and practices. It suggests that these mask the perpetuation of a racialized discourse in development, its complicity with broader historical and contemporary racial projects and the effects of ‘race’ on the processes and consequences of development. The paper provides an agenda for understanding development in terms of ‘race’ and identifies three potential areas for further investigation. The first is the continuing legacy of colonial constructions and the persistence of forms of racial difference and hierarchy in development. The second concerns the power of whiteness and specifically how authority, expertise and knowledge become racially symbolized. The third area for further examination is how ‘race’ is disguised through the use of specialized terminology and criteria in accounting for poverty and social exclusion. The paper concludes by suggesting that debates around multiculturalism and anti-racism could inform a shift away from racialized representations and inequalities prevailing in development.

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