Academic journal article Geography

Culture and Development in a Globalizing World

Academic journal article Geography

Culture and Development in a Globalizing World

Article excerpt

Culture and Development in a Globalizing World Edited by Sarah A. Radcliffe Abingdon: Routledge, 2006 280pp, 15.5x23.5cm Pb: £23.50, ISBN 0-415-34877-3

This book is about how culture has held back development, how culture is integral to development, how culture can be used to encourage development and how development has destroyed but also recreated culture. It is also about the nature of culture and particularly the reasons why there has been a cultural turn in development studies and practice. The content deals mainly with poorer societies; the writers are mainly geographers, with a sprinkling of anthropologists and sociologists.

Naively, I had hoped this book would provide me with a simple definition of culture. At various points it attempts to but the definition is so complex that I am really no nearer to it. The problem is that culture is neither static nor confined to traditional societies; rather, it is constantly being created and modified by social and economic change. Development endangers cultures but in the process creates new hybrid forms. Culture is also political in the sense that it 'remains a highly ambiguous concept and one that arouses much controversy' (p. 10). Definition is therefore impossible because culture is always contested by 'diverse actors in their ongoing daily and generational interactions' (p. …

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