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Modernism, reflexivity and the Washington Consensus

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This paper develops a taxonomy of reflexive development practice, suggesting an examination of external values and norms; an assessment of the importance of local context; a recognition that policies can worsen the problems that they try to solve; and the idea that theory and policy should be revised as circumstances change. The taxonomy is developed as a way of addressing the difficulties encountered by the modernist Washington Consensus on the one hand and postmodernism on the other. The discussion draws on the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, who tries to move the debate further using the concept of reflexivity, combining the objectivism of the outsider with the attention to context of the locally embedded researcher. JEL Classifications: O10, B41
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Keywords: Bourdieu; Washington Consensus; development; modernism; reflexivity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Stirling,

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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