- The violence of development
- Guerrillas, gangs, and goondas in perspective
- Book title
- The Palgrave Handbook of International Development
- Pages (from-to)
- London: Palgrave Macmillan
- ISBN (electronic)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This chapter analyses the intuitively compelling assumption that violence is inimical to development. Ever since Marx argued that the development of Europe proceeded through ‘primitive accumulation’, many writers from a wide range of theoretical perspectives have in fact regarded development as inherently reliant on coercion and force. The chapter provides a brief survey of arguments that violence is linked with development before outlining three examples—the cases of guerrillas, gangs, and goondas—that, we argue, exposes the more productive associations of violence. We accept that not all violence is developmental, but the chapter highlights the importance of being able to understand the conditions and forms under which violence might or might not be progressive, and how and why development becomes linked to violence, and when this relationship potentially dissipates.
Dangerous human proclivities can be canalized into comparatively harmless channels by the existence of opportunity for money-making and private wealth, which, if they cannot be satisfied in this way, may find their outlet in cruelty, the reckless pursuit of power and authority, and other forms of self-aggrandizement.
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