A Sociological Understanding of Neoliberal Discourses of Development

In this article, the author calls for a sociological understanding of neoliberal discourses of development and underdevelopment. The author criticizes the idea that the utterance of discourse is different than other social practices and also warns against understanding discourses solely as acts of deception. Using a critical stance, the author shows how ideologies are giving shape to development projects and how social change is effectively conducted through acts of communication. The author proposes different ways to analyze various discourses of neoliberal development. Giving several examples from the literature, he shows how discourse analysts have examined many aspects of neoliberal discourses of development and social change. Amongst ways to understand discourses of development the author presents the following: studying ethnical and racial biases, examining discourses as storytelling, looking at their specific stylistic codes, understanding discourses as social interaction and how they produce concerted actions, seeing them as fluxes and containers of ideas, criticizing their justification of social hierarchy and their reinforcing of social domination. Also are presented elements of examining statistics, machines and artefacts as elements of neoliberal discourses. The author calls for more militant uses of discourse analysis. In conclusion, the author also raises some methodological, ethical and epistemological issues of the analysis of discourses.

Publication available at https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02046915/document