The Projection of Development: Cinematic Representation as An(Other) Source of Authoritative Knowledge?

30 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2020

See all articles by David Lewis

David Lewis

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Dennis Rodgers

University of Glasgow - School of Social and Political Studies

Michael Woolcock

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); Harvard University - Kennedy School of Government; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: June 1, 2013

Abstract

Popular representations of development need to be taken seriously (though not uncritically) as sources of authoritative knowledge, not least because they are how most people in the global north (and elsewhere) encounter development issues. To this end, this paper presents three clusters of films on development: those providing uniquely instructive insights, those unhelpfully eliding and simplifying complex processes, and those that, with the benefit of historical hindsight, usefully convey a sense of the prevailing assumptions that guided and interpreted the efficacy of interventions (whether of a military, diplomatic or humanitarian nature) at a particular time and place. The authors argue that the commercial and technical imperatives governing the production of contemporary films, and popular films in particular, generate a highly variable capacity to accurately render key issues in development, and thereby heighten their potential to both illuminate and obscure those issues.

Keywords: Arts & Music, Population Policies, Development Economics & Aid Effectiveness, Public Sector Corruption & Anticorruption Measures, Economic Theory & Research

Suggested Citation

Lewis, David and Rodgers, Dennis and Woolcock, Michael, The Projection of Development: Cinematic Representation as An(Other) Source of Authoritative Knowledge? (June 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6491, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2281017

David Lewis (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Dennis Rodgers

University of Glasgow - School of Social and Political Studies ( email )

Adam Smith Business School
Glasgow, Scotland G12 8LE
United Kingdom

Michael Woolcock

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Mailstop MC3-306
Washington, DC 20433
United States
202-473-9258 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/mwoolcock

Harvard University - Kennedy School of Government ( email )

Littauer-G-11G
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-0911 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://ksgfaculty.harvard.edu/michael_woolcock

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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