Developmentalism and disciplinary power: The case of Bangladesh
Over the last fifty years or so, a myriad of strategies and techniques were deployed with a hope of bringing the people of post -colonial and underdeveloped societies under the process of 'normalization', i.e. development, such as was already experienced by the Western industrial societies. In the process of their deployment, three actors - European rational science, local trustees and the masses - emerged within an ideal construct, developmentalism. This thesis, using discourse insight, examines the process of normalization that operated through the execution of developmentalism in a particular country - Bangladesh.
The thesis shows that, despite achieving the status of political independence as a nation state, Bangladesh not only remained dependent but also entered into a decisive condition of management and control by this disciplinary power of normalization. This occurred through an acceptance of Western modernity as a truth applicable to all humanity. In concrete terms, the Bangladeshi state actively participated in this project by forming (1) a 'think tank' comprising the planning commission and various research institutions; (2) a huge bureaucracy, both public and private; and (3) a mobilisation of the masses into various cooperatives/collectives. The think tank produced development knowledge by directly appropriating the rationality of Western science and technology. Various development projects produced by the application of this knowledge were then implemented by the bureaucracy at the local level. Unlike under colonial subjugation, the masses were not forced to accept the project, but they were made to conform 'of their own free will'. Regardless of its level of achievement in transforming the lives of poor Bangladeshis in material terms, the project achieved their consent to being ruled by the development elite.
Although numerous studies have concluded that most Bangladeshis remained poor (if not worse-off), the trustees or elite of development in Bangladesh managed to change their own fortunes. They gained recognition by intellectually promoting Bangladeshi underdevelopment to the West, keeping themselves personally afloat on Western aid, in luxury. In the end, Western science and rationality are enabling them to remain in power until an alternative--a resistance to this hegemony--can be established.
Number of Pages361
PublisherCentral Queensland University
Place of PublicationRockhampton, Queensland
SupervisorDr Aminul Haque Faraizi ; Dr Jim McAllister
- Doctoral Thesis
- By publication