Culture, liberation, and 'development'

Most of the socio-economic changes taking place in Africa and much of the South are externally driven. External agencies, often in league with the State, bypass working people and do not involve them in the decision-making processes. Their economic approaches ignore people's cultures and their worldview. This denies working people a creative capacity to adapt new techniques and knowledge to their own concrete reality. This article argues for the importance of the historical frame of reference and for the centrality of culture in socio-economic processes. The author argues against approaches which are not culturally familiar to working people. This article is freely available as a chapter in Development and Culture.