Essai d’esthétique. La connaissance pratique du beau by Martinus

By Martinus

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Culture in development thinking • 19 1111 2 3 41 5 6 7 8 91 10 1 2 31 4 5 6 7 8111 9 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 30 1 2 3 4 51 6 7 8 9 40 1 4211 Development thinking now “contain[s] a more pro-active vision of incorporating a cultural dimension into the development process itself ” (Davis 1999: 27). Such a “cultural lens” places culture at the center of development, viewing it as neither inherently damaging nor beneficial (Rao and Walton 2004). A critical engagement with culture and development paradigms adds greatly to our understandings of development institutions, processes, and practices without distracting our attention from the materialities of poverty, inequality, power relations, resource distribution, and the vagaries of the global economy (McEwan 2003: 2).

The notion that left to its own devices unregulated markets are massively corrosive and their tendency to “disembed” (to commodify all aspects of social life) will always throw up institutions and movements to protect society from its ravages (Polanyi 1944, 1945; Burawoy 2003). 3 This is true in at least two senses. First, is that development is always culturally constituted (UNDP’s admirable commitment to minority rights, gender justice are cases in point). And second, what the twin UNDP–World Bank programs represent are not just different ideas but a struggle between the ways in which the world of development practitioners is shaped by particular systems of knowledge.

These concepts underpin and provide theoretical justification and practical frameworks for thinking about cultural development and practice. Three key concepts are participation and governance, as well as social capital. During the 1990s and into the twenty-first century, they have provided the talisman and framework for much cultural development thinking. As such, the concepts appear in various ways in the specific case studies discussed in the chapters here; below, the relationship between governance, participation, and culture are outlined, before moving on to a brief discussion of social capital.

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