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The Whiteness of Power: Racism in Third World Development and Aid [Paperback]

Paulette Goudge

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2003 0853159572 978-0853159575
This work examines the way in which much "third world" aid, far from contributing to the prosperity of recipient countries, helps to shore up global relations of domination and subordination. In particular, Goudge focuses on the role played by "race" in discourses and practices of development, and on the impact of unacknowledged - and often unconscious - assumptions of white, Western superiority. For example, the unequal distribution of resources that results from global power imbalances is often attributed to the inferior capabilities of the black poor. Goudge worked for some years as a volunteer in a "third world" country - in her case, Nicaragua - and this book is the result of her subsequent reflections and research. The core of her evidence comes from in-depth interviews with development and aid workers, as well as her own experiences and diaries. She also explores other related texts to illustrate that development and aid practitioners and agencies do not operate in a vacuum, but are a part of a pervasive discourse of superiority and inferiority. She submits her material to stringent analysis and finds much evidence of unconscious attitudes of superiority - with uncomfortable echoes of the assumptions of the colonial epoch. Goudge questions her own beliefs and actions as much as those of others. Indeed it is her contention that in scrutinising the motivations of those of us whose intentions are good, we can discover a great deal about the global operations of the power of whiteness.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lawrence And Wishart Ltd (Sept. 1 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0853159572
  • ISBN-13: 978-0853159575
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 30 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #576,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book to Change the Way You Think Jan. 13 2005
By E. Bruins - Published on Amazon.com
In her book Goudge gives specific examples of how ingrained racism has become in the everyday life of First World citizens. Drawing from her own experiences in Nicaragua during and after the Contra War, Goudge exposes a side of international aid that most dont know exists. Goudge urges her readers to recognize the power imbalance and take responsibility for all it entails, This includes giving the third world a voice in their own development and the willingness to have an open, honest discussion with the Third World without demanding Western standards or practices.

After reading this book and having the priviledge of discussing it with classmates and even Goudge herself, I can honestly say that I will never read a newspaper, watch the evening news, listen to a lecture, or think of foreign aid in the same way again.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Taboo Topic Nov. 18 2012
By S De Silva - Published on Amazon.com
I picked up this book at a Spanish school (la Isla) in Nicaragua a few years back. I wish I had taken the time to review the book back then when it was fresher in my mind; that said, the fact that I've recommended this book to many others over the last few years and my attempts to gain a soft copy for my files now, are indicative of its resonance.

The book relates (to the best of my recollection) an inherent racism residing within development professionals working in poorer nations. The racism being a latent by-product of colonial class systems. The result being well meaning development professionals imparting an insidious class dynamic on poorer nations, perpetuating a giver-receiver relationship, undermining local skills and institutions and so on. This is a work of self-doubt and conflict for Goudge for her role in the development industry and she is relentless in providing honest interviews and examples. Some of what is written shares concepts from post development theorists such as Esteva, Escobar, Wolfgang Sachs, and Rahnema and I recommend these authors for anyone that liked the book.

This is a MUST READ FOR ANYONE IN the int. development industry. Understand these ideas are on the fringe of the development discourse and are often not well received by professionals that may (wrongly) perceive them as a threat to the industry. This not necessarily being the case; these ideas being part of a debate on the efficacy of int. development in its current form and consideration of possible alternatives to "development".

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