Village experts and development discourse: "Progress" in a Philippine Igorot Village

D. Hilhorst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


How does discourse work in everyday development situations and how does it order social relationships in local communities? To answer these questions, this paper argues, we have to follow how local actors use different development discourses in practice. Using the case of an indigenous women's organization in the Philippines, the paper explores what local development initiatives tell us about the meaning of development and social change in a village. Stepping away from notions about hegemonic discourse, the argument is based on the duality of discourse, where actors on the one hand find room for maneuver in a multiplicity of discourses, and on the other create realities beyond their intentions by enacting particular discourses. To study this, the paper adopts a two-step approach. First, three local meanings of development are identified: development as improving the village; as helping those in need; and as bringing personal benefit. Second, an interface analysis is used, focusing on negotiations at real or imaginary meeting points of different discourses. Research found that women's use of development discourses plays into processes of social ordering, in particular by eroding the status of peasant women in favor of educated professionals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-413
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Organization
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


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