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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

4 - Independence and the Rhetoric of Feasibility


As Lal has shown, the reputation of the Southeast as a backwater crystallised during the transition to and the first decade of independence, notwithstanding occasional challenges to it.1 This is hardly surprising since, during this period, the notion of development gained currency, complexity, and political significance: it became more important as a criterion to assess places by. There is an extensive and sophisticated literature on the rise of the concept, practice, and institutional apparatus of development in the post-war world, both in Africa and beyond.2 Judgements differ as to its intellectual antecedents, the extent to which development was a product of Cold War strategising, a way to recast and reinvigorate colonial-era forms of dependency and control, and a means to put the putatively pre-modern, underdeveloped populations of the former colonies in their place; to culturally ‘other’ them.3