Developmentality is a neologism that combines development and mentality to express a critique of the normalizing effects of developmental thinking in childhood studies. The term developmentality alludes to Michel Foucault’s neologism governmentality and focuses on the limiting and self-governing effects of developmental discourses about children. This entry examines the use of developmentality, its origins, and how it operates as a form of critique.

Use of Developmentality

In the 21st century, the term developmentality has been used primarily in discourses of international economic aid as a way to critique assumptions of progress that are generalized from one (usually European) culture to another culture. In discourses of international development, developmentality refers to the tendency of international foundations to assume that the goals and values of one culture are appropriate ...

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