What UNDP really means by development and why it matters?

Changes in the development policy narratives of the UNDP Human Development Reports

The primary aim of this paper is to explore, through the lens of critical development studies, the conceptual changes that international development has undergone and the dominant narratives that currently overrun this discourse. In line with this, the study examines the Human Development Report published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), combining methods of computer-assisted content analysis and discourse analysis. This allows, on the one hand, to identify the different narratives through which the UNDP framed development between 1990 and 2022, and, on the other hand, to discover the main features of the current narrative in details. Drawing on all these empirical findings, the paper argues that development policy efforts can only achieve meaningful goals if they are able to construct narratives that are not only sensitive to a Western technocratic cultural framing, but also take into account – and productively integrate – the needs of social groups with different resources and cultural traditions.

Released: Replika 127, 57–83.
Replika block: