Home » Research Initiatives » Critical Development Studies

Critical Development Studies

The study of modernity and development has emerged on Anveshi’s agenda through our work in different initiatives such as education, health and law. In many of these engagements we have been forced to confront the dilemmas and paradoxes of modernity in general and development thinking in particular.

Development has traditionally meant governmental intervention in the lives of the poor and has historically taken two forms: one, natural resource development, and two, welfare programmes to ameliorate poverty. The primary agenda of this research initiative is to provide a framework that will help critically examine the current practices in development policy. The Development Initiative is the youngest in Anveshi, with an active programme dating from 2004.

Ongoing Projects

The Development Reader

The Development Reader is an edited volume of extracts from contributions to development theory in the past fifty years.  Each extract is preceded by a head note that discusses the work of the author and places the contribution in context.  The book will address the non-specialist academic, interested administrators, activists, students, and laypersons, confronted with ideas that take shape in the domain of development thinking. The substantive introduction seeks to outline the system of thinking called development.  This project was initiated with support from Hivos, Netherlands, and has continued well beyond the time span originally envisaged, given the challenge of the extracts. R. Srivatsan has been working on this project, and the volume is now being reviewed by a publisher for suitability.

The Reader has served as a focus around which workshops have been conducted in University of Hyderabad (for all social science M Phil and doctoral students) in 2009, in the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society(for pre-PhD students), Bangalore in March 2010, and in the ‘review of literature’ discussion of recent contributions to development theory, in relation to Telangana (see report).  Thus, alongside the reader’s theoretical output, there has been some grounding of Anveshi’s development initiative in educational institutions and in the activist and political community in Hyderabad mainly, and in Bangalore to an extent.  The initiative now has a goal of entering, and finding accountability in the local debate in left politics in relation to the Telangana and Hyderabad.

Completed Projects

Women in Industries: Sexual Division of Labor (1995-97)

This short-term research project, undertaken by P. Madhavi, examined women’s work in industries dealing with electronics, pharmaceuticals, leather, garments, food processing in the organized sector and beedi industry in the informal sector in Hyderabad city. Findings showed that women were almost always relegated to the unskilled category in factories; by placing them in the unskilled category, the work of women was constantly undervalued. In spite of the fact that the end -product of their labour was commercially valued, their input was not regarded as “work”. It was found that sexual division of labour pushed women into certain kinds of jobs where women compete with each other, not with men. It also weakened womens’ position in the industry by affecting their training prospects and growth. A report based on the research conducted in select industries was published in Bhumika in the March-April 1998 issues.

Mary John and K. Lalita prepared this report for Overseas Development Agency, UK. It provides an overview of gender issues in India in sectors such as economy, health, education, water resources, sanitation, housing and caste/community identities. The report is used extensively by NGOs and funding agencies.