The Transnational Invention of Endogenous Development
How was the notion of “endogenous development” born? Now often referred to in the perspective of economic development, the notion has seen its scientific dimension forgotten while it was part and parcel of its invention in the late 1960s. The presentation aims at describing the role played by the Unesco in the emergence of this notion in the mid-1970s within the framework of reworking the idea of development by articulating it to the promise of a New international economic order. Officially inscribed within the Unesco medium-term plan for 1977-1982, it also becomes a core notion in the programs of the United Nations University from 1975 onwards as part of the Human and Social Development axis. From 1976 to the early 1980s, two programs were developed under the direction of the Egyptian –working in France – economist and sociologist Anouar Abdel-Malek. He organized different workshops, mostly in Asia and in Central and Latin America about “endogenous creativity” in the late 1970s and early 1980s that created links between various scholars who had been thinking mostly independently about the evolution of sociology in their own countries in the first place. Even before the issue of indigenizing sociology came to the fore with the publication of some crucial articles in International sociology in the mid-1980s, it belonged to the intellectual imagination of social scientists from the non-Western world.
Relying on documents from the Unesco archives and from the United Nations University archives, the communication aims at throwing light on one of the most important South-South scientific programs of the 1970s-1980s.