introduction
Black Social Movements and Development
in the Making
Capitalist development has not been unmade by Third World social
move­ments; rather, both development and such movements are being
restructured during the current neoliberal, free-market phase of capital-
ism. This is not to say that development in its globalizing guise will (or
can) fulfill its promises of promoting economic growth, meeting basic
human needs, managing natural resources sustainably, and conserving
the environment. But neither are alternatives proposed by new social
movements of marginalized communities of women, workers, peasants,
and ethnic groups imminent. However, viewing the development proj-
ect and social movements in oppositional terms obscures the contra-
dictory, complex, and contingent ways in which they are intertwined.
This book moves beyond the notion that development is a hegemonic,
homogenizing force of Western rationality to show how its discourses
and practices structure, and are structured by, their reception in particu-
lar locations at specific conjunctures. Specifically, it is an ethnographic
study of the processes of black social movements as they emerged from
and articulated with political economic changes in the Pacific lowlands
of Colombia in the 1990s. More broadly, the work theorizes these dy-
namics beyond the many binaries—tradition versus modernity, progress
versus underdevelopment, exploitation versus resistance, local versus
global, theory versus practice, identity versus strategy—that plague and
limit thinking about Third World development and social movements.
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