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The development of Tanzanian civil society is widely understood to be one of the key processes in the democratization of the country, and this vision is also shared by the…
The development of Tanzanian civil society is widely understood to be one of the key processes in the democratization of the country, and this vision is also shared by the World Bank. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the intention and impact of World Bank policies aimed at supporting Tanzanian civil society organizations.
The paper uses the Lacanian psychoanalytic approach combined with Foucault's notion of governmentality as a conceptual tool. Within this theoretical framework, a specific World Bank programme in Tanzania, the Social Development Civil Society Fund, is analyzed.
Developed democratic states produce, through the World Bank, the desires of not‐yet‐fully democratic countries to embrace the benefits that (democratic) development can bring. The World Bank programme aimed at the development of Tanzanian civil society is formulated in a way that posits Tanzania as a not‐yet‐fully democratic country. This is achieved through the World Bank's advice and recommendations, which trigger the desires of Tanzanians to participate in development and thus to achieve (always elusive) prosperity and democracy. Moreover, the World Bank programme can be seen as an ensemble of governmental practices advancing the idea of self‐empowerment through which Tanzanians are made governable.
The paper contributes to the understanding of democratic transition, from the perspective of Lacanian psychoanalysis, as a social fantasy that plays a crucial role in the constitution of global hierarchical relationships and in the construction of the identities of so‐called democratic states and not‐yet‐fully democratic countries. Within this scheme, the World Bank's policies are governmental technologies that trigger desires of not‐yet‐fully democratic countries.
This paper aims to link the process of “transition”, which started in the former Soviet system about 20 years ago, to the recent global financial and economic crisis. The…
This paper aims to link the process of “transition”, which started in the former Soviet system about 20 years ago, to the recent global financial and economic crisis. The paper considers “transition” as a shift from one socio‐economic “dreamworld” to another, rather than as a real change towards freedom and democracy, as most mainstream commentators would have it. The argument is that this “transition” to a capitalist, free market society was bound up with a host of dream‐like imaginations of social and economic progress, which were also found on the imaginary horizon of the Soviet system. It is argued that the two systems, and hence also the recent global capitalist crisis, can be understood as being determined by complementary economies of desires, which, however, cannot be fulfilled.
The paper combines a critical theory perspective, influenced by Buck‐Morss and Benjamin, with a Lacanian analysis of subjectivity to critically analyze collective fantasies as the key organizational principle behind the workings and eventual demise of the socialist utopia as well as the more recent downfall of the neoliberal discourse.
The paper demonstrates why both socialism and capitalism can be understood as “real existing” systems where social processes, institutions, ideologies and identities are organized at the interface of political‐agonistic and symbolic‐imaginary dimensions.
The paper calls for assuming responsibility for our work as public intellectuals and academics, aiming at the continuous unmasking of illusions, fantasies and ideologies at work in society, which we see as politics proper.
The paper uses critical‐theoretic, psychoanalytic and post‐structuralist frames in order to unravel the fantasmatic kernel at work of both socialist and capitalist utopias. These fantasies do not only struggle to uphold their hegemonic grip on the economy but on the very production of subjectivity.