Engaging the Frankenstein of modernity: postmodernism and development theory

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Grant, Iain M.
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University of Guelph

This thesis is an investigation of Development Theory, said to be at an Impasse because of the 'failure' of neo-modernizing and neo-Marxist theory. Primarily, it seeks to assess the potential of postmodernism to negotiate this Impasse. After summarizing the bases of the Impasse, the basics of postmodernism, and postmodernism's strengths and weaknesses, it is argued that postmodernism is ill equipped for this task. It is then argued that a re-oriented postmodernism would be better suited to the task than the current variety, which defines itself primarily in terms of its posture of counter-modernity. The ultimate aim of this discussion is to argue in favour of such a re-oriented postmodernism, which would in turn enable a development theory 'synthesis' based on a combination of interest- and ethics-driven development imperatives. Such an approach necessarily would incorporate elements from both the postmodern and the 'modern' canon.

Development Theory, Impasse, postmodernism