Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

"Resistance is futile": A poststructuralist analysis of the international (education for) development discourse

Greta S Shultz, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The international Development field has long been critiqued on ideological grounds. This study complements more recent critical analyses which cast Development as discourse, as a system of logic disseminated through power-knowledge strategies which represent “the real” according to its own dictates. The interface between Education and Development, however, has received little scholarly or critical attention to date. Informed by the work of Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida, this study employs poststructuralist and deconstructive strategies to investigate the performativity of the discursive formation, (Education for) Development. The author builds an analytics which posits a “problematic” or epistemological framework, comprised of three “regimes of representation”—History, Geography and Governmentality—and two guiding modes of rationality, the “economistic” and “developmentalist,” which underwrite Development's power to constitute “the real.” Analyses of three recent influential texts, the Declaration of the World Conference on Education for All (1990); USAID Technical Paper No. 12 “Education Policy Formation in Africa” (1994); and World Bank (1995) Policies and Strategies for Education destabilize the apparent naturalness and inevitability of (Education for) Development's own account of itself. Problematizing the discourse's claims to objectivity and disinterested technical knowledge, the analyses subvert the logic which makes possible Development's constitution of problems crying out for solutions emanating from its own epistemological universe. The analyses expose the discourse's power to interpellate its subjects (“girls,” “women,” “government,” “the State”) within the limits of its own discursive regimes. Limits to representation proscribe the “girl's” subjectivity, for example, within the confines of childbearing and domestic labor. The discursive formations “Girls' Education” and “Population Education” are shown to perform in the service of Development's normalizing and self-sustaining strategies.

Subject Area

Educational sociology|Bilingual education|Multicultural education

Recommended Citation

Shultz, Greta S, ""Resistance is futile": A poststructuralist analysis of the international (education for) development discourse" (1999). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9932346.