A WRITER'S VIEW OF DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA
In Sylvia Wynter's chapter "Is 'Development' a Purely Empirical Concept or also Teleological?: A Perspective from 'We the Underdeveloped,' " the underdeveloped countries represent the conceptual "other" of the Western episteme, a necessary adjunct to the prevailing and transcendent subjects, the developed countries. Sylvia Wynter posits that the prevalence of culture as a systemic determinant of thought patterns (or symbols) worldwide renders the very concept of terms such as "development" ineffectual. This is especially so to those affected by underdevelopment in the modern world.
In her analysis of development concepts, she weaves together ideas from philosophical works by Franz Fanon, V. Y. Mudimbe, Michel Foucault, and Asaman Legesse. For literary inspiration, she draws from novels by Hamidou Kane and Chinua Achebe. Her major point is that "development" and its related "subgoal" of economic growth are not objective terms. She calls them culturespecific concepts derived from the Judeo-Greco-Romano-Christian Western thought subsequently imposed on the rest of the world. Even though her recommendation is implicit in the very interesting analogies, further contributions are certainly expected from Sylvia Wynter and her colleagues of the new discipline about concrete ways to get rid of this hegemonic culture.