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The birth of a discipline: Producing authoritative green knowledge, World Bank-style

Michael Goldman
Ethnography
Vol. 2, No. 2, Special Issue: Global Ethnography (June 2001), pp. 191-217
Published by: Sage Publications, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24047751
Page Count: 27
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The birth of a discipline: Producing authoritative green knowledge, World Bank-style
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Abstract

After 10 long years of growing social movement pressure, the World Bank has effectively responded with a new work paradigm, 'environmentally sustainable development', that aggressively incorporates lessons from its worst critics (as well as some of the critics themselves). This article focuses on a case study of the World Bank's transformation-in-progress in Lao People′s Democratic Republic to explicate the institutional and epistemic framework on which the Bank′s new forms of intervention are based. This article argues that the World Bank successfully produces a green authoritative knowledge that contradictorily caters to the critics′ demand for democratization and the investors′ call for privatization. The article explains both the process of knowledge production and the way in which it becomes authoritative, situating newly produced forms of green knowledge and eco-rationalities within the institutional context of and ′development′ its expanding relations of power.

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