Mădălina Diaconu: Editorial
Kritische Entwicklungstheorie und Interkulturelle Philosophie im Dialog
Herausgeber:innen des Thementeils: Franz Gmainer-Pranzl und Julia Schöneberg
Debates about globalization and development underline global interconnectedness, although from mainly linear modernist economic perspectives. They divide the world into »developed« and »underdeveloped« regions, subordinating social change to economic progress. Social change is absorbed as something natural, ignoring the historic conditions under which »development« takes place. Concurrently, the dissolution of cultural self-conceptions plays an increasingly important role in intercultural philosophy. It claims that social change has always something to do with the threatening experiences of alienation as well as power interests and inequalities driving it. Critical development theories show the alienation of »development« from the radical social changes needed to transform the postcolonial conditions of globalization. Both intercultural philosophy and critical development theory confront this situation with their own disciplinary positionality, initiating the notion of border thinking.
Eine Alternative zum vorherrschenden Entwicklungsbegriff?
After more than sixty years of »development aid« or »development cooperation«, the conclusion looks sobering. The global South, i.e. the so-called »developing countries«, is »developing« the global North, as was the case in colonial times and during the times of imperialism. Do we have to overcome definitely »development« and focus on a world beyond development and progress? Personnel Development Cooperation (PDC) is not about project financing and the supposed »catching up« of a missed »development«, but about mutual learning between global South and North. The aim of »worldwide learning« is to discuss the common future of the planet, the living together of people and with nature, but also spiritual and religious resources, and to derive joint action from this.
This article examines development as philosophical and epistemological idea in relation to its underlying conceptions of the »Self« and the »Other«. A critical genealogy of the idea of development will therefore provide an insight in the implicit and interlocking assumptions of developmental thinking – from its particular understanding of history to its specific interpretation of change in time. If development is regarded as an element of modern knowledge the perception and description of the »Self« – which codifies, shapes and enacts the idea of development – is its locus. Modern subjectivity and the »Self-«narrative of the occidental modernity defines the »Other« of development. Thus, the epistemic and ontological representation and reproduction of Otherness is resulting in a codification of differences and a hierarchical classification of societies. Analysing, problematizing as well as deconstructing the totalitarian conception of knowledge and being might encourage alternative forms of thinking to overcome a singular epistemology and an atomistic ontology.
This article argues that it is impossible to discuss development politics without addressing persistent imperial structures on both the cultural and the politico-economic level. The primacy of economic rationales and the lack of reflection on colonialism in global politics and economics works to disregard and indeed grand legitimacy to the historically grown imbalance of power, consequently negating the status quo of a world benefiting the few. Intercultural theories and concepts make visible and challenge these asymmetric global power relations on philosophical and ethical grounds, thus advancing reflection of the colonial paradigm, especially in development politics. Only an intercultural approach to economic ethics may lead to a broadening of interests being represented and acted upon in the global arena. This implies challenging the prevalence of economic rationales and focus instead on fundamental questions of human existence, and the (collective and individual) right to construct one’s own economic environment.
Zur globalen Dimension fehlender Interkulturalität in Bezug auf (nachhaltige) Entwicklung
In Andean Afro-Pacific traditions, intercultural thinking is intimately related to decolonial resistance and the revalorization of culture linked to traditional environment and land use, such as ancestral knowledge about the preservation of mangroves. However, following decades of exploitation and appropriation, Afro-Pacific practices have been violently suppressed, displaced and invisibilized also by the Ecuadorian Buen Vivir-State, though »intercultural« according to its own definition and largely critical to Western development discourses, in reply to the devastating coastal earthquake of 2016. Against this backdrop, and drawing from extended ethnographic field research after 2016, this article traces the history of critical thought and interculturality across Latin American thinking and practice from the vantage point of largely overlooked Afro-Ecuadorian and Afro-Colombian traditions, suggesting a critical reading of the state as the prime actor of transformation toward sustainability in the region. Instead, ostensibly »local« Afro-Pacific forms of knowledge and practice are highlighted, given their, in fact, global relevance when taking, e. g., the vital role of mangrove habitats for the global climate into account. In summary, it is argued that from the shared perspectives of ecological sustainability, decolonial interculturality and critical development studies a focus on political spaces of margin beyond the state and toward overlooked »local« traditions is urgently required.
Eine empirische Analyse unter Einbeziehung philosophischer, dekolonialer und postkolonialer Perspektiven
Intercultural philosophy and critical development theories have so far rarely entered into exchange, although they share central concerns: they criticize epistemic eurocentrism and call for a diversification of science and knowledge alike. In this paper, I illustrate how the conjunction of philosophical concepts and insights from decolonial and postcolonial scholars can lead to a deeper understanding of empirical phenomena – such as unequal relations of knowers in the context of development cooperation. Drawing on empirical material generated by social science research in South Africa and Tanzania, I highlight how experts from the Global South experience epistemic injustice in aid-related advisory processes, and how this is fostered by a social imaginary of Northern epistemic superiority institutionalized in development practice. The paper ends with a critical reflection on the interdisciplinary research journey, pointing out its drawbacks but also its potential for opening up new thinking spaces and generating questions that demand further exploration.
Vom leeren Signifikanten zur offenen Natur der Geschichte
Apropos Mohammed Abed Al-Jabri, 1935–2010
Mohammed Abed Al-Jabri im Interview mit Sonja Hegasy 6. Mai 1993, Casablanca
BERICHT & REZENSIONEN
(Brasilien 2019). Nr. 44 S. 151-54.
Global denken, lokal handeln – Glocal Public Philosophy durch das Friedensprinzip WA. Zu: Naoshi Yamawaki: Glocal Public Philosophy – Toward Peaceful and Just Societies in the Age of Globalization (2016). Nr. 44 S. 154-56
Die Gemeinsinnsmaxime als interkultureller Impuls. Zu: Jan Christoph Heiser, Tanja Prieler (Hg.): Die erweiterte Denkungsart: Pädagogische, gesellschaftspolitische und interkulturelle Konsequenzen der Gemeinsinnsmaxime (2017). Nr. 44 S. 156-58.
. Nr. 44 S. 159-61.