With the collapse of colonialism, the millions who had joined the struggle accepted their leaders' new call for 'development'. Little today remains of that enthusiasm. The question they now ask is: can anything be done to stop the process and regenerate the forces needed to bring about change more in accordance with their own aspirations? This reader brings together an exceptionally gifted group of thinkers and activists - from South and North - who have long pondered these questions. Diverse in background and experience, they are all committed, however, to seeing through the rhetoric of development, free from the distorting lenses of ideology and habit. They are also interested in looking at 'the other side of the story', particularly from the perspective of the 'losers'. It is these orientations which make this reader such an original compilation. The contributors illuminate the wisdom of vernacular society which modern development thinking and practice has done so much to denigrate and destroy. They deliver devastating critiques of the dominant development paradigm and what it has done to the peoples of the world and their richly diverse and sustainable ways of living. Most importantly, in terms of the future, they present some of the experiences and ideals out of which ordinary people are now trying to construct their own more humane and culturally and ecologically respectful alternatives to development, which, in turn, may provide useful signposts for those concerned with the post-development era that is now at hand.
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Zed Books Ltd