Tracing inclusions/exclusion in Value Chain big "D"evelopment

Authors: Elsie Lewison*, University of Toronto
Topics: Development, Economic Geography, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: Value Chains, international development, agriculture, Nepal, Himalaya
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Proteus, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The last decade has seen a proliferation of explicitly "pro-poor", value chain development (VCD) initiatives, many aimed at forging capitalist market inclusion in agricultural "frontier regions". Yet, even as these projects attempt to engineer new forms of articulation through processes of marketization, a dis/articulations perspective highlights simultaneous processes of disconnection and devaluation, as pre-existing economic actors and practices are subject to exclusion (Neilson, 2013; Ouma, Boeckler, & Lindner, 2013). In this paper, I draw out a few methodological implications that follow from a dis/articulations perspective of value-chain-as-intervention. These observations are based in my own attempts to navigate a study of pro-poor VCD in northwest Nepal and focus specifically on tracing contested flows of Development resources.

First, a dis/articulations perspective calls for historical methods attentive to the layered histories of not only capitalist expansion and disinvestment, but also previous rounds of Development interventions. These are often motivated by a variety of territorializing and governmental logics and inform not only uneven socio-economic geographies, but also sedimented "structures of feeling". A second methodological impetus is for work tracing contested configurations of inclusion/exclusion within Development interventions—conditioned both by historically produced social differences and technocratic expertise. In the context of "pro-poor" VCD in particular, highly political questions of inclusion/exclusion are often obscured through layers of "governance" and bureaucracy. Finally, a dis/articulations lens encourages methodologies attentive to how globalized Development resource flows are imagined or narrated—and to the researcher's real or perceived positioning within such flows—as a key site of contestation and politicization.

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