Spaces Of Intervention 2


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Bodhi N.A. Harnish

Hampshire College—Division III

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Spaces Of Intervention 2

  1. 1. Chapter 1 Towards a geopolitics of [intervention space] in development theory and practice: locating communication resistance in rural and urban Bangladesh through human behavior and use of technology As a means to ground my research and my eventual fieldwork I will attempt to briefly cover the methodology of my approach and the literature I will be drawing from in this unfolding process. I hope to use this foundation to discuss particular definitions and dimensions of development theory, the discourse of neoliberal capitalism (and itʼs genealogy in a history of colonialism and imperialism) in the development of underdevelopment and itʼs implication in emerging paradigms of core and peripheralization between so called global North and South. This theoretical framework will then be used in application to a particular context, that of the development of Bangladesh out of Partition and later in the revolution for independence during 1971, which led to the eventual liberalization of the Bangladeshi economy through successive military dictatorships and an invasion of NGOs modeled on a legitimization found in the aid economy of disaster and “crisis” reconstruction so prevalent after the revolution and during the establishment of the new Bangladeshi state. From this point of departure I hope to extrapolate from these structures, theories, and histories as a way to open a space to discuss the potential of design, communication and architecture. In this day and age, I intend to affect a profound inversion of power relationships in development and/or simultaneously to expand the inventory of opportunities available to the rural poor or otherwise disadvantaged persons so that they may use such technologies towards their own means of creating and maintaining a livelihood of basic necessities. As well as but not limited to, community empowerment through the physical occupation of such hypothetical spaces. In other words theorizing the creation—> emergence of an alternative intervention space that must retain a set of core values and awarenesses for survival: freedom and accessibility to information [information-democracy], an understanding and critique of “standard” or “complacent” development theories by recognizing the inherent racism of the neoliberal states and institutions [most prominent being the United States, the IMF, England, and the World Bank]. In the structure that capitalism has condoned for ʻdevelopmentʼ, through itʼs twists and turns in history and relationships it has implied. In turn these values (and relationships) beg the utilization and further abstraction of existing technologies, that through the processes of globalization, have reached nearly all corners of the world. Hence they have enabled the ability to engineer instrumental collapses of time/space in and through time i.e. ICTʼs Information Communication Technologies (cellular phones, wireless, and of course, the internet); all of which can potentially be seen in the light of a digital resistance to physical realities through the engendering of submerged networks or subjugated knowledges to affirm identities / presence and participate in a global network of bodies, ideas, and/or movements. In conclusion, the purpose and intention behind this project is to develop a new standard of participation, as the model instead of the outcome in development, participation as the only true ground on which specific projects can facilitate the process of social change and freedom can take root.
  2. 2. Theoretical Framework: The Development Project “creation of a dynamic world economy in which the peoples of every nation will be able to realize their potentialities in peace... and enjoy, increasingly, the fruits of material progress on an earth infinitely blessed with natural riches. This is the indispensable cornerstone of freedom and security. All else must be built upon this. For freedom of opportunity is the foundation for all other freedoms. Henry Morgenthau Bretton Woods conference president The earth has urbanized even faster than originally predicted by the Club of Rome in its notoriously Malthusian 1972 report Limits to Growth. In 1950 there were 86 cities in the world with a population of more than one million; today there are 400, and by 2015 there will be at least 550. Cities, indeed, have absorbed nearly two-thirds of the global population explosion since 1950, and are currently growing by a million babies and migrants each week. Mike Davis, “Planet of Slums” 2006 In order to understand the development project of the twenty-first century, one must first look at the historical context of development during the antecedent five hundred years (or more) of colonial expansion to understand the cultural, social, racial, economic, political and geographical conflicts and conflations that have given rise to current uneven distribution of wealth, power and resources. It is not the intent of this essay, however, to give “history” of these processes. Instead, I will be attempting to give academic backing and credence to the outline I made in the introduction; this will not even scratch the surface of literature concerned with the subject of development, nor will it profess to have a familiarity with the massive body of work on this subject. I will be exercising my own discretion as to what I include in this literature review but more importantly what I do not. I will be approaching [development] as a discourse within itself, as a form of property and knowledge (power) that is used by the ruling classes to justify vectoral extraction and exploitation. The majority of development literature in circulation appears to be produced by the twin dinosaurs of International development, the United Nations and the World Bank (not excluding the networks of subsidiary organizations such as NGOs). “There is no shortage of articles, books, seminars papers and even theses on NGOs. However there are at least to aspects of this research literature which I feel need to be closely looked at. First of all, much of the NGO research is predominately donor driven and led. Clarke (1995) has made this general point and further argument that this dominance has meant that research has tended to focus, form an almost exclusively functionalist perspective, on the socio-economic functions of NGOs, while overlooking other dimensions such as their political functions. Secondly, much of the NGO research generally follows a programmatic focused line of enquiry. There is therefore a plethora of material evaluating particular programmatic or projects carried out by NGOs and these are either used as frameworks or references for wider studies and research.
  3. 3. Perhaps the most serious implication of these two points is that a body of literature emerges which is “product oriented” rather than “process oriented” (Devine PhD, Chp 4). While this formulaic production of knowledge, which Joe Devine identifies, is important for scholars attempting to stay on top of current statistics of global inequality or case studies of worsening conditions in international refugee camps, the movement of displaced persons, internal or otherwise, or migratory populations leaving Africa, South America, the Middle East, or South Asia; their primary purpose is not to challenge the current development model, simply they record and regurgitate the crisis of the present. This is a crisis that emerged sometime between the social movements of 1968 and the collapse of Soviet Union as the last alternative to Capitalism, it has been combusted in the inferno of progress and used to propel capitalist society to itʼs existential extremes. These were the years of Thatcherism in Great Britain and Reagan ruled the White House, together they proclaimed a simultaneous “end of history” and the emergence of Capitalism as the only true global economic system. For these reason I have chosen to focus on the alternative views of international development literature, those that recognize the plurality of difference required for the substantiation of a post-colonial project of development and that rely on an ecology of knowledges rather than a narrow monoculture of technico-scientific knowledge. As Franz Hinkelammert is quoted “we live in a time of conservative utopias whose utopian character resides in its radical denial of alternatives to present-day reality.” 1 Mercantilism was in essence the economic policy of colonialism. The practical application of the theory was that colonized countries would develop economies in primary products (i.e. raw materials, agriculture, mining). The colonized countries shipped those products to the colonizers; these commodities were there converted into secondary commodities (i.e. textiles, metals, machinery, technology). These commodities in turn were sold back to the colonies at an inflated price which provided for the extraction of profit. • First, the colonial division of labor left a legacy of “resource bondage” embedded in Third World social structures. There, trading classes of landowners and merchants, enriched by primary goods exports, favored this historical relationship. And of course, the First World still needed to import raw materials and agriculture goods and to market their industrial products. • Second, as newly independent states sought to industrialize, they purchased First World technology, for which they paid with loans or foreign exchange earned from primary exports. 1'The World Social Forum: Towards a Counter-Hegemonic Globalization' B de Sousa Santos - Globalizing Resistance: The State of Struggle, 2004
  4. 4. •Third, nation-states formed within an international framework, including the normative, legal, and financial relationships of the United Nations (UN) and the Bretton Woods institutions, which integrated states into universal political-economic practices. 2 The pursuit of national economic growth on a global scale requires international supports, both material and political-legal; it can be seen as a distinct process in the movement of Modernism which determined to create the universal supra-structure capable of regulating a global system of exchange. Henry Morgenthauʼs words at the Bretton Woods (embodied in League of Nations after WW1) meetings reflect some of this sentiment that later became so popular during the 1960s and 1970s in the “Development Decades”. Social and economic paradigms of the West were undergoing massive revolution and restructuring. Liberalism and the universalist doctrine of superiority were undergoing a mutation: this metamorphosis become known as globalization. Through discourse this mutation has also become known as a change from the universalist politics of modernism to the “non-politics” 3 of post- modernism. Under these two sign-systems processes (globalization and post-modernism) emerges a new conservative economic model which eventually to become know as neo-liberalism. Not until later was this term, neo-liberalism re-appropriated by the Left to re-signify a critique of international free-trade agreements, beginning with the General Agreement on Trades and Tariffs (GATT 1948-1994) and later seen in the economic policies of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA 1994-present) and international development agendas of the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and IMF [SAPs or Structural Adjustment Policies]. “Aid and trade relationships often followed well-worn paths between ex- colonial states and their postcolonial regions. Superimposed on these historic relationships were the new relations embodied in the Bretton Woods institutions and the political, military, and economic relationships of the new capitalist superpower, the United States, as it sought to contain the rival Soviet empire”. ² “There is nothing new, of course, about uneven geographical development within capitalism or, for that matter, within any other mode of production. There are, moreover, several overlapping ways of thinking about it.” In David Harveyʼs 2006 book Spaces of Global Capitalism ⁴ he presents an essay titled “Notes towards a theory of uneven geographical development”. He draws on a wealth of resources and authors to discuss what he tentatively puts forth as the beginnings of a unified theory of capitalism and the uneven development, not only within economics, but also seen in the forces of societies, cultures, territories, neighborhoods, or turfs coming into proximity frictions and conflicts over interests or values. 2Philip McMichael, Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective, 3rd ed. (Pine Forge Press, Sage Publications Ltd., 2004). 3By non-politics of post-modernism I am inferring both a political movement towards the concealing of power relationships related to either cold war development or in business with the rise of globalized corporatism. As well the Situationist vision of a society of the spectacle seen emerging around this time with television and advertising—a whole industry build around manufacturing truth in order to sell products. It is a loose connotative term that I am using to describe a vast cultural & aesthetic movement.
  5. 5. Harvey first presents the four following arguments or interpretations of geographical development in order to incorporate their logics before rebuilding them. I have added my own commentary after Harveyʼs paragraphs to locate his vast simplification of historical theory within my own work. Number 1) describes the dominate belief that Capitalism (money) will “trickle down” and that the poor farmer in Bangladesh will eventually accrue the same privileges as the billionaire families in New York or Washington. Number 2) can be seen as the Marxist or dependency theory critique of the first. It approaches the structure of the world economic paradigm and attempts to show that exploitation lies in the structure and historical privilege of colonialism; it cannot be idealized in the “pull yourself up by your boot straps” version of Capitalist individualism and agency. “Underdeveloped” countries are underdeveloped because of the structure imposed by the developed ones through history. Number 3) understands the environmentalist critique as yet another form of superior knowledge which can be imposed from above and which, more often than not, bases itʼs argument on the essentialist truth that nature is boundless and that which matters most, is the efficiency with which a person, or persons in the case of nations, can extract those resources from a geographic or territorial region. Expand that notion today and you get vastly efficient market models based on aid and development. Let alone the nation states entangled in this Number 4) Geopolitics could broadly be seen as Realpolitik : “as the principle on which nations act, in their foreign policies, driven by their own interests and not by altruism, friendship, idealism or solidarity considerations, power has a decisive role in international relations.” It is the everyday lives of politicians trying (and failing like Obama) to make their little change amongst the vast constellation of historical power dynamics both infra-national and extra-national (if we consider the United States and the CIA in particular) in the forming and deforming of the coherency of [Nation] and in itʼs necessary representation of politics to the masses. It can of course be seen in the politics of development which is not only a war over resources and the means of production but also a war on the meaning of meaning itself. 1) “Historicist 4 / diffusionist 5 interpretations treat the political economic development of the advanced capitalist countries (the West) as the engine of capitalism that entrains all other territories, cultures and places into paths of economic, political, institutional and intellectual progress.” I believe that this conception of reality can be seen embodied in the western economic tradition and additionally in the evolution of cultural anthropology and cultural geography from a western perspective in general. It is essentialist and functionalist at the same time. In particular it could be attributed to a wide range of racist movements ranging from slavery to the movement of Zionism in Israel, from the emergence of biopolitics in the nineteenth century (reducing the body to itʼs constituent parts) to the commodification 4 “Historicism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,” 5“Trans-cultural diffusion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,” cultural_diffusion.
  6. 6. of biodiversity in the twenty-first century by multinational corporations (an objectification of nature sanctified within the legal-scientific structure of intellectual property). 2) “Constructivist arguments focus on the “development of underdevelopment.” The exploitative practices of capitalism backed by the political, military and geographical activities of the most powerful nation states engaging in imperialist, colonial or neo-colonial exploitation of territories and whole populations and their cultures lie at the root of the uneven geographical development. Differential patterns of exploitation (of populations, resources, lands) result. Indigenous strengths and cultural specificities are to be undermined or destroyed by these forces over large tracts of the globe” In this kind of discourse, the exploitative and destructive practices are inevitably cast in a negative light. Movements for autonomy (such as de-linking from the global economy) and national liberation coupled with a refusal to engage in certain kinds of environmental transformation are seen as progressive forms of resistance (paraphrasing). Understanding the operation of these differential patterns of exploitation in the landscape of Bangladesh will be a primary facet of my experiential work. I hope to utilize visual elements to spatialize these patterns of exploitation (i.e. photographs, maps, graphical information systems (GIS) on the local stage of Bangladesh in order to view the uneven elements of everyday life. 3) “Environmentalist explanations go back at least to Montesquieu and Rousseau. Though their reputation became sullied by association with racism and doctrines of (usually) European cultural superiorities, the thread of argument that attributed development differences to underlying environmental conditions that never disappeared. In recent years, under the pressure of many “green” arguments regarding natural limits, environmental capacities and differential exposure to health problems and diseases.” I will later explore the exploitation of these terms “green” and “sustainable” in order to problematize the shifting role and legitimization NGOs have used as a modus operandi. 4) “Geopolitical interpretations see uneven geographical development as an unpredictable outcome of political and social struggles between territorially organized powers operating at a variety of scales. These powers can be organized as states or blocs of states but struggles also occur between regions, cities, communities, local neighborhoods, turfs, etc... More recent versions drop the crude social Darwinism and concentrate on the play of power politics (military, political, economic) and competition between territorially based organizations for wealth, power, resources and qualities of life on the global stage... Accidents of history (localized social movements, cultural norms, political shifts, revolutions) and geography (resources, human capital, prior investments) can all play a role in defining the forms of struggle as well as their outcomes.” In this light, the truly ironic term none-governmental organization (NGO) seems to lose its protective guise as nonpartisan and can been viewed in their correct place, as seriously entrenched within this ʻplay of power politicsʼ on an international scale. The geopolitical perspective also opens a massive unregulated space for discussion, one that emerges from ʻaccidents of historyʼ from below or from within social movements that have the potential to change the course of both development and naturalization globally.
  7. 7. Where in the world can we find these theories coming into real practice? I would argue that you can find them acted out in everyday life all around us. “Almost everything we now eat and drink, wear and use, listen to and hear, watch and learn comes to us in commodity form and is shaped by divisions of labor, the pursuit of product niches and the general evolution of discourses and ideologies that embody the precepts of capitalism... Under such circumstances the body becomes “an accumulation strategy” and we all of us live our lives under the sign of that condition”. The first step towards accepting the statement that “another world is possible” is a step that recognizes that the current crisis in capitalism as nothing new, that in fact capitalism from itʼs inception has evolved according to a number of irresolvable contradictions first hypothesized by Marx and/or Engels and their students. [ “if we try to define the common denominator of Marxists then i would say labour theory of value, which is not observable because of the abstract nature of labour as is encompassed in the commodity; but commonly we talk about the drive to maximize profits, the production for the purpose of selling, we talk of fetishism of commodity, we talk of recurring crisis which can emerge from the falling rate of profit, or from over-production, inability of the system to maintain equilibrium. the constant conflict between the classes, the intensification of labour(when made possible, and especially at times of crisis” (Noam Bahat, email) the global becomes local and the local becomes global — one in the same resulting in dramatic unbalances racism, commodification, exploitation of resources... ] If I were to look at one contemporary social movement that embodied an epistemology of counter-hegemonic globalization it would undoubtably reside in the yearly meetings of the World Social Forum and the people that constitute itʼs open network of organizations, movements and causes. Boaventura de Sousa Santos is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Coimbra (Portugal). In a recent article published 2004 he approaches the World Social Forum (WSF) as a critical utopia, an epistemology of the South, and as emergent politics. “The WSF is a set of initiatives — of transnational exchange among social movements, NGOs and their practices and knowledge of local, national or global social struggles against the forms of exclusion and inclusion, discrimination and equality, universalism and particularism, cultural imposition and relativism, that have been brought about or made possible by the current phase of capitalism known as neoliberal globalization. The utopian dimension of the WSF consists in claim the existence of alternatives to neoliberal globalization”. In this sense, the utopia of the WSF asserts itself more as negativity (the definition of what it critiques) than as positivity (the definition of that to which it aspires). Neoliberal globalization is presided over and produced by technico-scientific knowledge, and owes its hegemony to an active denial and discrediting of all rival knowledges, by suggesting that they are not comparable, as to efficiency and coherence, to the scientific nature of market
  8. 8. laws. “Faced with rival knowledges, hegemonic scientific knowledge either turns them into raw material... or rejects them on the basis of their falsity of inefficiency in the light of the hegemonic criteria of truth and efficiency. Confronted with this situation the epistemological alternative proposed by the WSF is that there is no global social justice without global cognitive justice” 6 (their emphasis). Or in other words, an ontology of personal or subjective truths as opposed to the acquisition or imposition of objectified knowledges. Santos outlines the epistemological operation carried out by the WSF which consists of two processes that they designate as sociology of absences and sociology of emergences. Quoting Santos7 I distinguish five logics or modes of production of non-existence. The first derives from the monoculture of knowledge. It turns modern science and high culture into the sole criteria of truth and aesthetic quality, respectively. All that is not recognized or legitimated by the canon is declared non- existent. Non-existence appears in this case in the form of ignorance or lack of culture. Let me step back here and explain a bit of what I mean by a production of non-existence in Bangladesh. I see at opposite ends of a spectrum, the people of Bangladesh (especially those at the bottom of the economic ladder, the extremely poor); and the wealth donor from an affluent country in the West. Just think for a moment about the (cultural, social, and economic) disconnection in perspectives between these two hypothetical persons. Now apply that relationship to what we already know about the kinds of development and knowledge/power that will flow as a result of this hypothetical relationship. First of all there is a split between two parallel political bodies, the state government of Bangladesh and the NGOs combined with international economic institutions. Drawing from Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 of Joe Devines PhD thesis One Foot in Each Boat. The Macro Politics and Micro Sociology of NGOs in Bangladesh (2000) to back up my argument; I would put forth the following statement: that each of the half-spheres of political reproduction in Bangladesh (the nation-state and the international aid actors) which form an often incoherent whole, are in fact two parts of the same process. On the one hand the production of the imaginary community seen in the populist nationalism of Bangladesh (without regard for the historical / multicultural geography of the region), and on the other hand a production of social life (through services offered predominately by NGOs) and a hierarchy according to ones access to aid. A literal right to life (survival) produced by geopolitical forces (localized globalisms) and in accordance to the time-space 6 First, if the objectivity of science does not imply neutrality, science and technology may as well be put at the service of counter-hegemonic practices. The second point is more polemical because it confronts the hegemonic concepts of truth and efficiency directly. The epistemological denunciation that the WSF engages in consists of showing that the concepts of rationality and efficiency presiding over hegemonic technico-scientific knowledge are too restrictive. They cannot capture the richness and diversity of the social experience of the world, and specially that they discriminate against practices of resistance and production of counter-hegemonic alternatives. 7'The World Social Forum: Towards a Counter-Hegemonic Globalization' B de Sousa Santos - Globalizing Resistance: The State of Struggle, 2004
  9. 9. disconnection between the privileged aesthetic, the cultural bias or explicit racism, or more commonly a simple ignorance of the significants of money in todays world and where it goes. These gifts of aid come inevitably in the form of letters asking for money (I got one recently) and perhaps more significantly, intwined in the economic contracts for development that get woven into foreign polices, corporate conglomerations and standards, or through the market (often blindly invested) in hedge funds or through moneylenders and banks. Here we can return to our donor / agent of development relationship and theorize that it is because of this relationship (this unequal right to power) that the person in Bangladesh is produced as non-existent in a real way. “Under neo-liberalism, the criterion is the market. The total market becomes a perfect institution. Its utopian character resides in the promise that its total application cancels out all utopias. What distinguishes conservative utopias such as the market from critical utopias is the fact that they identify themselves with present-day reality and discover their utopian dimension in the radicalization or complete fulfillment of the present. Moreover, if there is unemployment and social exclusion, if there is starvation and death in the periphery of the world system, that is not the consequence of the deficiencies or limits of the laws of the market; it results rather from the fact that such laws have not yet been fully applied (or in the fact that the knowledge we have of globalization is much less global than globalization itself). The horizon of conservative utopias is thus a closed horizon, an end to history”. (Santos 2). Now we continue by quoting the remaining nine monoculture vs. ecologies identified by Santos. The second logic resides in the monoculture of linear time, the idea that time is linear and that ahead of time precedes the core countries of the world system. This logic produces non-existence by describing as ʻbackwardʼ (pre-modern, under-developed, etc.) whatever is asymmetrical vis-à-vis whatever is declared ʻforwardʼ. The third logic is the monoculture of classification, based on the naturalization of differences. It consists of distributing populations according to categories that naturalize hierarchies. Racial and sexual classifications are the most salient manifestations of this logic, with racial classification as one of the one most deeply reconstructed by capitalism. The fourth logic of production of non-existence is the logic of the dominant scale: the monoculture of the universal and the global. Globalization privileges entities or realities that widen their scope to the whole globe, thus earning the prerogative to designate rival entities as local. Non-existence is produced under the form of the particular and the local. The entities or realities defined as particular or local are captured in scales that render them incapable of being credible alternatives to what exists globally and universally. Finally, the fifth logic is that of productivity. It resides in the monoculture of criteria of capitalist productivity and efficiency, which privileges growth through market forces. This criterion applies both to nature and to human labour. Non-existence is produced in the form of non-productiveness. Applied to
  10. 10. nature, non-productiveness is sterility; applied to labour, “discardable populations”, laziness, professional disqualification, lack of skills. There are thus five principal social forms of non-existence produced by hegemonic epistemology and rationality: the ignorant, the residual, the inferior, the local and the non-productive. The realities to which they give shape are present only as obstacle vis-à-vis the realities deemed relevant, be they scientific, advanced, superior, global, or productive realities. They are what exist under irretrievably disqualified forms of existing. To be made present, these absences need to be constructed as alternatives to hegemonic experience, to have their credibility discussed and argued for and their relations taken as object of political dispute. The sociology of absences therefore creates the conditions to enlarge the field of credible experiences. The enlargement of the world occurs not only because the field of credible experiences is widened but also because the possibilities of social experimentation in the future are increased. The sociology of absence proceeds by confronting each one of the modes of production of absence mentioned above and by replacing monocultures by ecologies. I therefore identify and propose five ecologies : the ecology of knowledges, which confronts the logic of the monoculture of scientific knowledge with the identification of other knowledge and criteria of rigor that operate credibly in social practices. The central idea is that there is no ignorance or knowledge in general. All ignorance is ignorant of certain knowledge, and all knowledge is the overcoming of a particular ignorance. In this domain, the sociology of absences aims to substitute an ecology of knowledges for the monoculture of scientific knowledge. Second, the ecology of temporalities, which questions the monoculture of linear time with the idea that linear time is only one among many conceptions of time and that, if we take the world as our unit of analysis, it is not even the most commonly adopted. Linear time was adopted by western modernity, but it never erased, not even in the West, other conceptions of time such as circular time, cyclical time, the doctrine of the eternal return, and still others that are not adequately grasped by the images of the arrow of time. In this domain, the sociology of absences aims to free social practices from their status as residuum, devolving to them their own temporality and thus the possibility of autonomous development. In this way, the activity of the African or Asian peasant becomes contemporaneous of the activity of the hi- tech farmer in the USA or the activity of the World Bank executive; it becomes another form of contemporaneity. The ecology of recognition, thirdly, opposes the monoculture of classification. It confronts the colonial mentality of race and unequal sexuality; it looks for a new articulation between the principles of equality and difference, thus allowing for the possibility of equal differences — an ecology of differences comprised of mutual recognition. The differences that remain when hierarchy vanishes become a powerful denunciation of the differences that hierarchy reclaims in order not to vanish.
  11. 11. The ecology of trans-scale confronts the logic of global scale by recuperating what in the local is not the result of hegemonic globalization. The local that has been integrated in hegemonic globalization is what I designate as localized globalism, that is, the specific impact of hegemonic globalization on the local. The de-globalization of the local and its eventual counter-hegemonic re-globalization broadens the diversity of social practices by offering alternatives to localized globalisms. The sociology of absences requires in this domain, the use of cartographic imagination, to deal with cognitive maps that operate simultaneously with different scales, namely to identify local / global articulations. The ecology of productivity, finally, consists in recuperating and valorizing alternative systems of production, popular economic organizations, workersʼ co-operatives, self managed enterprises, solidarity economy, etc., which have been hidden or discredited by the capitalist orthodoxy of productivity. This is perhaps the most controversial domain of the sociology of absences, for it confronts directly both the paradigm of development and infinite economic growth and the logic of the primacy of the objectives of accumulation over the objectives of distribution that sustain global capitalism. I hope that these short definitions have at least outlined a field of knowledge that I could begin to call my own as I progress in my argument towards defining my own conception of uneven geographical development and a sociology of absences in relation to my research in rural Bangladesh. David Harvey and Sousa Santos possess the epistemological ability to span whole schools of thought in a few paragraphs, summarizing their arguments. I chose them for this reason, but will now leave their theories behind, for fear of losing my readers in theoretical justification, and begin looking at the Bangladesh case and itʼs particularism's.