Chapter 1 introduces the theoretical and methodological framework of the book’s critical inquiry by explaining the key concepts in the work of Derrida and Laclau – i.e., discourse, relationality, contingency, antagonism, transcendental signified, binary oppositions and deconstruction. The chapter exposes the essentialist assumptions of the human development framework and describes the structure of the UNDP’s discourse – which is deconstructed in the following chapters.