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Depoliticizing Development

Depoliticizing Development

The World Bank and Social Capital

By John Harriss

A unique investigation into the notion of social capital, analysing its misappropriation in development economics.

Paperback, 158 Pages

ISBN:9781843310495

January 2002

£19.99, $29.95

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  • About This Book
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  • Author Information
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  • Table of Contents
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About This Book

In 'Depoliticizing Development', John Harriss explores the origins of the idea of social capital and its diverse meanings in the work of James Coleman, Pierre Bourdieu and, more specifically, Robert Putnam, who is most responsible for the extraordinary rise of the idea of social capital through his work on Italy and the United States. Harriss asks why this notion should have taken off in the dramatic way that it has done and finds in its uses by the World Bank the attempt, systematically, to obscure class relations and power. Social capital has thus come to play a significant part in the discourses of international development, which go toward comprising 'the anti-politics machine'. This powerful and lucid critique will be of immense value to all those interested in development studies, including sociologists, economists, planners, NGOs and other activists.

Reviews

'A scathing and yet also meticulous critique of Robert Putnam's work on social capital. John Harriss shows why Putnam's work is attractive to the World Bank, and why attempts to define social capital as the 'missing link' in development are misguided and self-serving. 'Depoliticizing Development' is a must read for all students of development.' —Stuart Corbridge, Professor of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Miami, USA; and Professor of Geography, London School of Economics, UK


'Shows us how, through subscription to the idea of social capital, social scientists as well as the World Bank have managed to neatly sideline the idea that human beings make their own histories through struggle against deep and entrenched structures of power and oppression. In this elegant and lucidly-written work John Harriss exposes the complicity of both these establishments in the maintenance of power relations.' —Neera Chandhoke, Professor of Politics, University of Delhi, India

Author Information

John Harriss is Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics. He has been a visiting researcher at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, India and has published extensively on aspects of India's political economy.

Series

No series for this title.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; Where the 'Missing Link' Came From; The Fragility of the Foundations; 'Anti-Politics' in America; Social Capital and 'Synergy Across the Public-Private Divide'; The Trojan Horse?; Putting Social Capital to Work; Conclusion; Notes; References; Index

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