Review of “Pathologies of Power” by Paul Farmer

In Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor, Paul Farmer combines his experiences as a physician and anthropologist in the Third World to bring forth evidence and analysis of poverty.  While primarily focused on health, and profiling the effects of Tuberculosis, AIDS and other diseases on particular locales, his experience in treating patients beaten by members of military dictatorships and those who experience malnourishment point to deeply social health problems.  As he quickly demonstrates, military attacks on civilians and AIDS are equally socially determined problems. Continue reading

Review of “Grassroots Postmodernism” by Esteva and Prakash

Esteva and Prakash’s Grassroots Postmodernism presents a powerful theoretical model for alternatives to development.  In reading this accessible, yet deep survey into the competing ideologies of development and local people’s power, one is confronted with a text rife with aphorisms that challenge the sacred cows of global development. Continue reading

Post-development theory, alternatives to development and activist anthropology

In “Anthropology and the Development Encounter,” Arturo Escobar discusses the past approaches of development anthropology as problematic.  He focuses on the epistemology of development, the complicity of anthropologists in the modernization approach of development, and the Western worldview assumptions that pervade the discourse even among critics of development within the discipline.  In this short response, I will focus my attention on the alternative episteme Escobar offers, particularly in his discussion of alternatives to development and indigenous resistance to the development process.  I will then quickly profile Nash’s view of activist anthropology, and argue this methodology offers the applied anthropology of development an avenue to explore alternatives to development.

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