Question based on Sen (Intro + Chapter 2)

  1. With reference to the argument provided in the Section Public Provisioning, Low Income and Relative Costs [Chapter 2, page 46-49] comment on the relative merits of what Sen describes as support-led vs growth mediated processes. How do you see their relative merits. You may draw on examples from elsewhere to support your argument.
  2. Comment on Sen’s views on development and progress – what do you think is his intellectual contribution, and do you see it as valuable? Why or why not? You may refer to the video resources provided or other resources to make your arguments.

Questions based on Akomolafe and Rutherford

Akomolafe questions the dominant narratives that shape our understanding of what is progress, and the assumptions that lead us to characterise certain cultures as as less developed – the language is complex, and many of his arguments may be quite challenging to unpick because it attacks many fundamental ‘truths’. You may find the video resources helpful.  

  • How does Akomolafe use the word ‘Truth’? How is it different, in his framing, from the word ‘story’? On page 12, Akomolafe introduces the parable of the fish. What is he trying to convey using this parable? Can you identify some of the ‘water’ you may be swimming in? Is there an example from your own experience, of something you were blind to or took for granted?

Rutherford on the other hand uses technical terminology such as phenotypes, DNA and specific gene variants (SLC24A5 for instance), and some of the arguments involve mathematical and statistical logic. Nothing too complex or advanced, but requiring focused attention and a familiarity with the terms and/or that form of argumentation would aid you. I would recommend his book – How to argue with a racist

  • What according to Rutherford’s account was the role of science and scientists in promoting racist views. Do you agree? Why or why not? What in your opinion is the role of science in challenging and confronting racist views and ideologies? Do you feel that scientific arguments can be useful tools, and what are the limits of these? Are there views that you hold that were challenged by Rutherford’s arguments? Elaborate on why you personally found his arguments either compelling or unconvincing.

Word count – 2000 words

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