The Projection of Development: Cinematic Representation as An(Other) Source of Authoritative Knowledge?
30 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2020
Date Written: June 1, 2013
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
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