Why I Do Not Trust the "Realities" of Underdevelopment
We are building our sense of "reality” from first hand experiences, from popular culture, the media, documentaries, scientific literature, administrative data and official statistics. We are too often adamant that we have an intimate understanding of the "reality” of social dynamics in the so-called "developing world”. We also believe that our "reality” is better than others’ because it has stronger foundations. But "reality” is not a given, it is not available to us. "Realities” are multiple and competing. Our reception of "realities” depends on who we are, on how we grew up, on how we were educated and on why we are acting.
This paper questions the validity of the various "realities” of "underdevelopment”. I contend that they are shaped by ideologies, design shortcomings and severe technical limitations. In this paper, among elements used to build "realities” I will look at media representations and statistics. Ultimately, this papers attempts to force us to question the grounds on which we are making decisions.