As is well known, Kant posed three questions as being central
to our human condition in general and to the Enlightenment proj-
ect in particular: what can we know, what can we do and what
can we hope for?—philip quarles van ufford, ananta kumar giri,
and david mosse, ‘‘Interventions in Development: Towards a New
Moral Understanding of Our Experiences and an Agenda for the
Future’’
This desire for things modern does not, however, necessarily make
them [Third World people] docile, detribalized and depoliticized
consumers of everything manufactured in the West. Neither does
this imply the inevitability of processes of cultural homogeniza-
tion driven by Western discourses of development, consumer capi-
talism and cultural imperialism.—steven robins, ‘‘Whose Moder-
nity? Indigenous Modernities and Land Claims after Apartheid’’
Introduction:
Beyond the Developmental Gaze
Other Ways of Doing Development
In this book, I refocus the ethnography of development through a
critical assessment of the development practices of local people in Co-
lombia. I examine how three indigenous communities, established after
a devastating earthquake in 1994, wrestled with conflicting visions of de-
velopment. These communities are located in the southwestern prov-
ince of Cauca, famous for its history of indigenous mobilization as well
as its resistance to the violence spearheaded by state security forces,
paramilitary organizations, and the guerrilla movement. Relocated from
the more isolated, mountainous part of the province, the communities
were founded in lower lying lands, closer to highways, towns, markets,
and schools. These new communities o√ered the possibility of research-
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