Understanding international development
Understanding international development

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Understanding international development

1.2 Understanding PASH using case studies and spray diagrams

This course has provided a justification of PASH as overarching themes for the course. What is also interesting about these themes, however, is the way that they interact with each other (as illustrated in Figure 1).

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Figure 1 A representation of PASH and how it fits with international development. Click on each theme to reveal their definitions
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To take a simple example, a conventional version of history is in terms of rulers, explorers, generals and other great or bad people. Naked power and agency is taken for granted in this version of history as battles are fought and territory conquered (or lost). The exploits of these great or bad people are felt near, far and wide, that is to say at different scales. We can easily find illustrations of the inter-connections of the PASH themes in the example of British history. For example, the commoditisation of land in late 17th and early 18th century England turned what had traditionally been common access land into ‘parcels’, where full property rights of the owners prevailed, and from which peasants where forcibly evicted. Known as the ‘enclosures’, the evicted peasants did not allow this to happen without a struggle and contested the power of local authorities and landowners. Ultimately these changes, among others, that transformed rural life in England at the local, village level, also impacted on the wider, national scale, as peasants became a class of landless labourers that eventually swelled England’s cities and became the working class of the industrial revolution.

The usefulness of the PASH framework is that it provides a lens through which to look at development debates. For example, history provides a contextual basis on which to view the present and make decisions about the future. Power, agency and scale provide a backdrop to debates on different ways of thinking about development theory and practice, such as neoliberalism versus people centred models of development that you would have come across in the chapter. PASH also enables us to connect development theory with applied practice.

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