chapter  6
24 Pages

Postcolonial geographies of development

Thus much of this work is seen to have an emphasis on the marginal and on the ‘carving out’ of identities in postcolonial times. It involves giving ‘voice’ in western academe to ‘Third World peoples’ (and this term is still used as if it is unproblematic in many of these debates). Highlighting the Eurocentrism of certain kinds of scholarship about the ‘developing world’, the ‘Third World’ or ‘the Tropics’ is therefore important here. The work of Edward Said (1978) in his book Orientalism gave particular impetus to these debates – Said had looked at how colonial discourses represented the ‘Orient’ and sought to manage and dominate it. In his later work Culture and Imperialism, Said (1993) argues that postcolonial identities are intertwined, intermixed and complex, a point that continues to be relevant in the context of globalisation and the resultant cultural hybridities that characterise the ‘global’ era (see Chapter 7). This chapter seeks to examine how postcolonial literatures are also largely the result of this interaction between imperial culture and the complex of indigenous cultural practices. These literatures have emphasised the agency of the colonised in transforming their own societies and subverting or remaking colonial power relations. Postcolonial theory builds on this by forming a critique of the way in which the West has ‘made’ knowledge about the South and as such can help us to seek new ways of learning about and understanding development.