Ilan Kapoor, Confronting Desire: Psychoanalysis and International Development (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2020) (2021)
AuthorsPfeifer, Geoffshow all
In Confronting Desire: Psychoanalysis and International Development, Ilan Kapoor argues that contemporary theory in Critical Development Studies only gets us so far. He argues that while critical development studies’ Foucauldian emphasis on analysis of the power/knowledge nexus in the “practices that structure relationships between the West and the Third World” has certainly given us a lot of insight into the continuing oppressiveness of those relations and institutions, it is missing a key ingredient for a full and complete insight into their operation and reproduction (Kapoor, 4). Kapoor argues that the main critical insight missing in this standard analysis is an understanding of the ways that individuals and institutions are captured and put into the service of the reproduction of these particular and unequal relations. This, he argues is best understood by thinking through the ways that development, as described above, in its myriad of unequal and oppressive institutions and practices “is not only a socioeconomic construction, but also an ideological construction intent on effacing its various internal traumas and contradictions” (xi). Contradictions such as the commitment to an endless economic growth model premised on neoliberal capital and exemplified by the commitment to things like structural adjustment programs which are, as Kapoor rightly points out, “one of the key neocolonial tools for reproducing capitalism, ensuring the West’s central position in the global capitalist hierarchy” (134).