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2.3.2: Decolonizing Development as a Decolonization of Mind
Tuesday, 01/June/2021:
2:30pm - 4:00pm

Technical chair: Nathan Andrews
Location: Room 2

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2.3.2: Decolonizing Development as a Decolonization of Mind

Chair(s): Faisal Haq Shaheen (Ryerson University, Canada), Fayyaz Baqir (University of Ottawa)

Colonization has always been intertwined with development. Reason and colonization have travelled hand in hand from the First Industrial Revolution to the Covid-19 Pandemic. In the course of its rise and expansion, a global capitalist empire has encountered moments of strife, conflict, chaos and disillusionment. The Capitalist Order has demolished the organic relationships between the human communities, and the holistic relationship between the humans and nature, body and soul. Commodification of consciousness and the relegation of the soul to material pursuits has driven us and our natural habitat to the brink of destruction. The field of Development Studies in particular is in need of story tellers who will present the histories and heritage of the marginalized and excluded, in ways which will inform the repair of our fractured relationship with nature and one another.

This panel of story tellers will share their insights and provide extremely valuable insights about dealing with the differences, disputes, power play, conflict, and violence in a unique way, which can best be described as the art and science of dealing with the ‘other’. They provide a treasure trove of evidence for researchers, public policy analysts, academics, development professionals, policy makers, donors, and civil society organizations to draw meaningful conclusions for their work, gain insights into the dynamics of discovering and aligning the interests of different stakeholders with knowledge, tact and wisdom. They show how leadership is key to better engagement with ‘other’ in society and nature. They provide- to borrow the phrase from 1960s radicals- ‘a critique of arms’ not an ‘arm of critique’.


Presentations of the Symposium


Colonialism-Patriarchy in South Asia: Gendered legacy of constitutive disempowerment

Jennifer Euler-Bennett
Populate, Environment and Development Center

Colonial legacy in shaping gender inequalities is real. History shows that patriarchy and colonialism together have contoured the structural notions of gender relations and class divisions. The prominent male influential negotiated with the British colonial powers for economic gains and governance, while women were confined to the informal economy. The economic gamut within the confines of perceptions, attitudes and historic gender roles have perpetuated and penetrated the contemporary notions of globalization, with supplemented forms and guises. The absence of women’s role at the macro level, including the lack of coherent integration of women in the national economy has led to gendered social, economic and cultural inequality, and defines a multidimensional structure of social construct that sets women back and creates false divisions. Notwithstanding, that half of the world population comprises that of females, their contribution to family, community and national economies remains substantial yet largely overshadowed intentionally, or unintentionally under the myopic lens of misogynistic inclinations. From UN Millennium Development Goals to UN Sustainable Development Goals and what have you, gains are bleak if gender issues are not addressed within the realm of social justice, gender equality and pro-people democracy where no one is left behind. This paper examines the complexities of colonialism immersed in patriarchy. In doing so, it explores the contextual aspects of colonialism and gender, to help trace the critical nuances of gender inequality for an ingrained understanding of the dynamics of this relationship. From colonialism to globalization, this paper will dwell on the various facets of violations of women civil and human rights, the role of poverty/economic standing and culture in fundamentalist societies and in armed conflict zones in Asia.


Tensions between Colonial and Settler Worlds

Carolyn Laude
Carleton University

The Canadian Federal Government engages in exploitative resource extraction on Indigenous lands with little to no regard for the erosion of Indigenous lifeways. In February 2020, Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders claimed they had not given consent to the Coastal GasLink pipeline development given its potential to erode their inherent rights. Additionally, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination (2020) contested the “forced removal” and the “disproportionate use of force” against Wet’suwet’en peoples when peacefully protesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline development. State violence against Wet’suwet’en clan members exposed systemic racism. Eurocentric political, judicial and securitization measures of control are the pillars of the Canadian system of control. A tension therefore arises on how to address contested lifeworld views of land and sovereignty. The first has its philosophical roots in the inherent right to land and resources and self-determination flowing from the Creator and not government. Whereas settler-colonial liberal-capitalist democracy upholds sovereignty and land rights through the law and legislative and policy instruments. This situation implies that Indigenous and settler lifeworlds are “not only different, but different in kind” (Mills 2016). Through an analytical framework of reconciliation, ethical space and Nth-eyed seeing, my paper will offer a decolonial alternative to the liberalizing of Indigenous inherent rights. I argue the Wet’suwet’en lifeworld does not resist hegemonic epistemological and ontological conditions, rather it is a method of change and resilience that permits diverse legal, epistemological, and political spaces to co-exist. It recognizes the pluriverse wherein many truths and worldviews can share space without one being righter than the others. My research question asks: In what ways can a decolonial praxis of Nth-eyed seeing, reconciliation, and ethical space position “ways of co-existing” differently to re-conceptualize Wet’suwet’en and settler lifeworld views of land and sovereignty concerning resource development on Indigenous land?


Social Mobilization: A Key to Sustainable Development

Shoaib Sultan Khan
National Rural Support Network

Historically, development policy has been preoccupied with modernization and industrialization, at the expense of poverty alleviation. Globalization has exacerbated the situation leading to gross inequities. Any policy framework must make social mobilization of the poor central in order to be effective. The state, despite significant capital investments, has not cultivated the requisite relationships with grassroots stakeholders (either through planning or validation of 'development deliverables') which are requisite for success. Good governance and effective welfare state functions need to be supported by four pillars – administration, politics and local governance. The missing pillar is the social/socio-economic which if fostered, would see the household level engaged by state apparatus – ideally an institutional mechanism with the resources of the state and flexibility of civil society, such as the Rural Support Program. This presentation outlines an agenda for action which looks at institution building, community mobilization and opportunities for engagement and service delivery collaboration. Social mobilization involves organization, human development and capital formation. The process of engagement has generated plans, scorecards and investment at the local/micro level which in the case of the PRSN, has generated lessons and replicated models across South Asia. Details around score card communication, outreach, social auditing and capacity building are discussed.


Decolonization as transformation from Patronage to Partnership

Fayyaz Baqir
University of Ottawa

Nation State was the most important tool created by colonial powers for subjugate the native populations and colonizing the native mind. Colonial rulers created fear and awe in the minds of natives to sustain their pillage. Colonial ‘Nation State’ was different from the Nation State in the West in one critical way; it performed revenue collection, policing and national security functions but abandoned the welfare and human development functions to a large extent. Colonial State restricted ‘development work’ to commodification of economy and market development and control. It curtailed or eliminated the welfare function carried out by local communities and delegated the job of public works and infrastructure development, and service delivery to local Chiefs who were vested with hereditary authority by the Colonizers and carried out ‘development’ functions by commanding unpaid labour from their subjects. Post Colonial State carried out ‘development functions’ though a system of patronage based on use of discretionary authority, ‘confidentiality’ of government records and provision of services to the community as ‘a privilege not a right’. This sowed the seed of deep distrust between the state and the people and laid the foundation for a predatory and elitist development practice. The biggest challenge facing the professionals working in the communities was to make a transition from patronage to partnership, from fear and mistrust to collaboration and accountability, from secrecy to transparency and from asking for handouts to claim their due share in progress and growth. This transformation took place through the art and science of linking with the ‘other’. My presentation will be based on receiving access to water by the use of this linking strategy employed by a community leader in a small town in Pakistan.

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