Selling the Barefoot College
in An ethnography of NGO practice in India
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This chapter provides an overview of the book, its central argument and themes. A brief introduction is provided to the Barefoot College, giving an indication of its philosophy, goals and reach, and the kinds of utopian tropes and ideals that it aspires are sign-posted. This leads on to a discussion of the main theoretical concepts informing this book, namely Guy Debord’s notion of ‘spectacle’ and Michel Foucault’s ‘heterotopia’. Drawing upon these concepts, it is suggested that the modern development landscape is one embedded within ever-deeper capitalist relations, necessitating the production of the kinds of spectacle seen in other areas of life, but rooted in particular kinds of historical and heterotopic development landscapes.


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