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Making differences: cities, NGOs and the cultural politics of development discourse

ITDG Publishing
  • K100 Architecture
  • K421 Urban Planning
  • L722 Urban Geography
  • K440 Urban Studies


This book chapter reveals the politics of representation underlying depictions of non-Western cities in the literature on third world development. Development discourse is preoccupied with imaginary differences and hierarchies, it argues, and the places it describes are not grounded in any empirical reality. The 'third world city' is a Western invention, an imaginative construction that has helped to sustain a geometry of power and control that the West has exerted in one form or another since the first days of colonialism.

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