breaking away as other side of development: destructive power

Date: Wed Apr 06 2005 - 12:19:17 PDT

Mary "The kinds of loss produced by "development" produces an interesting
line of inquiry."

Mike: "It is the other side of Yrjo's notion of development as breaking

David: "when you break away and put the rules of your cultural subjectivity
to treat with the content of a strange one, what kind of complex cognitive
act do you perform? Would be your cultural life as brief as the one of the


Kris: "I think he's [Rodriquez] an excellent writer. and his rendering of
his story makes him the perfect candidate for the English speaking Union,
the anti-bilingual, and anti-affirmative action crowd." [again, other side
of development; breaking away?]


Yrjo: "The challenge to developmental theory is to account for the
negative, destructive and explosive elements in developmental processes
without patronizing and reducing them to safe formulas at the outset."


I liked Yrjo's brief paper for connecting to much old and much ignored force
of destructive power; both in its 'productive' and 'destructive' functions.
Political economists since 19th century have demonstrated the contradictory
process of social and economic 'development' in western societies. Marx
showed in the process of (primitive) capital accumulation peasants became
landless and hence available as laborers for the industry. In the 20th
century, Gunter-Frank, Amin, Wallerstein, and others showed how this process
of capital accumulation was manifested globally. These lead to the
understanding of 'development' as an uneven process of both production and
destruction. Mehrdad Vahabi has recently published an important book about
destructive power (and its relative ignorance in social sciences):


A summary is published in an online journal (scroll down to get to his


He suggests two forms of destructive power: (1) destruction as an act of
creation; transforming and making something new from what exists --in both
physical and actual spaces-- (logs to cabin; ignorance to learning). (2)
Destruction for the sake of destruction- power of threat and exclusion both
in violent (war, sanctions, demonization) and non-violent (strike, boycott,
gossip) acts --in both physical and actual spaces. The first one has
appropriative function (pirating), and second has rule-producing function
(sovereignty and 'state of exception'). The former can function as a means
to the latter.



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