Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Paradigms are the answer to nothing.

Paradigms are beliefs, theories and thoughts that exist in various contexts, yet all paradigms reflect a normative assumption. These assumptions exist on a local, national and global scales and pertain to subsets like social science, science and morality. Paradigms are constantly subject to change: paradigm-shifts occur when the normative of said paradigm changes or evolves, as they are proven lacking, inadequate or simply wrong. However, who challenges and changes these paradigms is not an easy answer: still, these changes must be accepted by a greater community in order to modify the paradigm.

Take for example the development paradigm: The idea of development, known today and defined by the west, had not been put into words, and made an integral part of foreign policy before the infamous President Truman inaugural address in 1949. He proclaimed that we (being the citizens of the United States) must “must embark on a bold new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas.” As such “the essence of ‘development’, as most people understand the term, is that it should combat poverty. Yet many of these projects adversely affect poor people and inflict poverty on others who were not poor before.”(Maggie Black) This thought secured the development paradigm rooted in western defined progress that allowed for hegemonic development, defining what is developed and what is not.

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