by Shawn Van Ausdal
This article explores the discourse of development in southern Belize, and the appropriateness of post-development ideas to understand its effects. It investigates a prevailing notion in development texts from the region that population pressure represents an environmental threat, an odd image for a country with so few inhabitants and so many trees. It also examines the consequences of apparent attempts by the government to employ development projects to defuse local contention over plans to privatize Maya land tenure. While post-developmentalists have opened up fruitful avenues of analysis this study suggests that some of their conclusions are overstated. In particular, it questions the de-politicizing effect of development discourse, and the notion of grassroots movements searching for alternatives to development, amounting to a ‘rejection of the entire paradigm’.
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Keywords: development, Maya communities, southern Belize, land tenure, post-developmentalist
Suggested APA Reference: Ausdal, Shawn. (2001). Development and Discourse among the Maya of Southern Belize. Development and Change. 32. 577 – 606.