Sarah A. Radcliffe is Professor of Latin American Geography at the University of Cambridge and coauthor of
Postcolonial Intersectionality and the Colonial Present
What does social diversity entail for development? This chapter provides the conceptual and theoretical frameworks through which this question will be addressed in the book and provides an overview of the methodologies employed and the context for the collaborative research process with indigenous women and ethnic organizations. The chapter discusses how heterogeneous social facets—gender, race-ethnicity, location, class—are articulated in postcolonial societies as intersectional hierarchies, grounded in colonial difference and exclusionary citizenship forms. Intersectional hierarchies are inscribed in sociocultural meanings, embodiments, and the production of space, across different scales of poor countries. The chapter outlines the relational, multiscalar dynamics that differentiate postcolonial societies, while arguing that development’s will to improve obscures social heterogeneity but implicitly and explicitly endorses colonial imaginaries of social relations. Moreover, postcolonial development is argued to be a process of knowledge production, reliant on colonially defined social goals.