Decolonizing Development. Colonial Power and the Maya. Antipode Book Series

  • ID: 2292930
  • Book
  • 330 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Postcolonialism and political economy are brought together in this groundbreaking book to examine development among the Maya of Belize.Decolonizing Development investigates the ways colonialism shaped the modern world by analyzing the relationship between colonialism and development. Through close readings of archival texts, maps, and development practices, Joel Wainwright unearths the roots of centuries of struggle over the representation of the Maya and their lands. He traces the shifts in discourses on this pre–Columbian civilization and documents indigenous resistance to the British colonial state.

The politics of state–led development projects since the 1950s are explored through three case studies: the works of a soil scientist who served the British colonial state in Belize; two agricultural development projects that intended to settle Maya agriculture by improving mechanized rice production; and a ′counter–mapping′ project that offers an indigenous view of the geography of southern Belize. Wainwright demonstrates how development a stage upon which colonial struggles are replayed sustains the very power inequalities it aims to resolve.

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List of figures.




Part I: Colonizing the Maya.

1. The territorialization of southern Belize.

2. The matter of the Maya farm system.

3. An archaeology of Mayanism.

Part II: Aporias of development.

4. From colonial to development knowledge.

5. Settling: fieldwork in the ruins of development.

6. Finishing the critique of cultural ecology.




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"Wainwright is to be applauded for marshalling his considerable intellectual skills to advancing our understanding of Maya colonial experiences (past and present) in the confines of Belize." (Social & Cultural Geography, February 2009)

"Theoretically sophisticated ... .It has some important things to say that are relevant to both scholars and practitioners concerned with development practices in the South today." (Geographical Journal, 2009)

"Culture studies sometimes receive a hasty, often incoherent introduction ... .Fortunately, this book is an exception. Wainwright provides a meticulous and actually readable explanation of the culture studies ′manifesto.′ One of the interesting issues discussed was the Mayas′ ′development′ into settled farming, as opposed to their original milpa (i.e., slash and bum) agriculture. Recommended." (CHOICE, December 2008)

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