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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Marcus Power

Power, M. (2006). 'Anti-racism, deconstruction and 'overdevelopment'. Progress in Development Studies 6(1): 24-39.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper explores the connections between colonialism and development in order to understand more clearly how discourses on North-South relations continue to be imbued with the imperial representations that preceded them. Beginning with a concern to examine how anti-racism can inform our understanding of the spaces of international development, the paper interrogates the colonial heritage of development studies and related disciplines and speculates on the possibility and necessity of disciplinary decolonization. Using the specific example of Portuguese imperial discourses of development in the 1950s and the 1960s, and the emergence of the heavily racialized ‘science’ of Lusotropicalism, the paper then examines the importance of deconstruction as a way of understanding the différance between colonialism and development in the Lusophone empire. The paper goes on to examine the particular example of postcolonial Mozambique, exploring the ways in which, between 1975 and 1988, Mozambicans struggled to acknowledge and deal with racism in postcolonial society, particularly in the context of Mozambique’s growing relationship with the World Bank in the mid-1980s. The paper concludes by suggesting that a more direct focus on ‘overdevelopment’ rather than just ‘underdevelopment’ may be one important (if neglected) way forward in ending the silences around ‘race’ and racism in development studies.