A Post-Development Dictionary
Edited by
Ashish Kothari, Ariel Salleh, Arturo Escobar, Federico Demaria, Alberto Acosta
Published by: Tulika Books, New Delhi in association with AuthorsUpFront

May 2019 • 6.25 x 9.5 inches • (xlii+342) 384 pages
Paperback • ISBN: 978-81-937329-8-4 • Rs 950

Pluriverse: A Post-Development Dictionary contains over 100 essays on transformative initiatives and alternatives to the currently dominant processes of globalized development, including its structural roots in modernity, capitalism, state domination, and masculinist values. It offers critical essays on mainstream solutions that ‘greenwash’ development, and presents radically different worldviews and practices from around the world that point to an ecologically wise and socially just world.

Ashish Kothari is with Kalpavriksh and Vikalp Sangam in India, and co-editor of Alternative Futures: India Unshackled.
Ariel Salleh is an Australian scholar-activist, author of Ecofeminism as Politics and editor of Eco-Sufficiency and Global Justice.
Arturo Escobar teaches at the University of North Carolina and is the author of Encountering Development.
Federico Demaria is with Autonomous University of Barcelona, and co-editor of Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era.
Alberto Acosta is an Ecuadorian economist and activist, and former President of the Constituent Assembly of Ecuador.

Available Online in India: Authorsupfront | LEFTWORD
To order copies of the book, please contact our distributors
In India and South Asia:
IPD Alternatives, New Delhi. Email: [email protected] / [email protected]
Kalpavriksh, Pune. Email: [email protected]
Columbia University Press, New York.

For worldwide purchase, you may also contact [email protected] |

“Pluriverse will nurture the mutual recognition, dialogues, and convergences without which ‘another world’ is hardly possible.” – Edgardo Lander, Venezuelan Central University Caracas
“The anthology brings together scholars with a deep grasp of philosophy, sociology, activism and policy. A wild generosity of ideas …” – Shiv Visvanathan, Jindal Global University, India

Editors’ Preface
Editors’ Introduction

Development and its Crises: Global Experiences
      North America
South America

Universalizing the Earth
Circular Economy
Climate-Smart Agriculture
Development Aid
Digital Tools
Earth System Governance
Ecosystem Services Trading
Green Economy
Lifeboat Ethics
Reproductive Engineering
Smart Cities
Sustainable Development

Transformative Initiatives
Alter-Globalisation   Movement
Alternative Currencies
Arbitration for Sovereign Debt
      Body Politics

Transformative Initiatives
Buddhism and Wisdom-based Compassion
Buen Vivir
Chinese Religions
Christian Eco-Theology
Civilizational Transitions
Community Economies
Cooperative Ecosystems
Deep Ecology
 Democratic Economy in Kurdistan
Direct Democracy
Earth Spirituality
Ecology of Culture
Eco-Positive Design
Energy Sovereignty
Environmental Justice
Food Sovereignty
Free Software
Gift Economy
Gross National Happiness
Hinduism and Social Transformation
Human Rights
Ibadism and Community
Islamic Ethics
Jain Ecology
Judaic Tikkun Olam
Kametsa Asaike
Kawsak Sacha

     Transformative Initiatives

Latin American and Caribbean Feminisms
Liberation Theology
Life Projects
Nature Rights
Nayakrishi Andolan
Negentropic Production
New Matriarchies
New Water Paradigm
Open Localization
Pacific Feminisms
 Popular Solidary Economy
Prakritik Swaraj
Queer Love
      Radical Ecological Democracy
Rural Reconstruction
Sea Ontologies
Slow Movement
Social Ecology
Social Solidarity Economy
Tao Worldview
Transition Movement
Tribunal on Rights of Nature
Undeveloping the North
Wages for Housework
Worker-Led Production
      Zapatista Autonomy

Postscript: A Global     Tapestry of Alternatives

The Editors of Pluriverse

Endorsements for Pluriverse (full)

This Post-Development Dictionary calls out the free market economic delusion that the natural imperative for survival demands possession and use of money, permitting injury to other human beings and the wholeness of nature in an unceasing accumulation of money. Enough pecunimania!

Mogobe Ramose, South African born philosopher, author of African Philosophy through Ubuntu, and Wiping Away the Tears of the Ocean

This book is about time. In one sense, it is about a modernist future that died a long time ago, and the crisis that haunts the colonial projects of progress and universality. In another sense, it is about the urgency of nurturing the otherwisemanifold worlds that breathe seditiously. We will need new irreverent words to cook this insurgency properly; and this here, this dictionary, is the cookbook.

Bayo Akomolafe, PhD, author of These Wilds Beyond our Fences: Letters to my Daughter on Humanity’s Search for Home

Development has become a ubiquitous principle and generalised belief; it has framed our world, our worldviews, and our actions. In these critical times, this important book enlightens us about an incredible range of alternatives, and helps us to rethink the value of all our societies and the meaning of being human.

Jingzhong Ye, Professor and Dean of the College of Humanities and Development Studies, China Agricultural University, China

This anthology brings together a potlatch of scholars with a deep grasp of philosophy, sociology, activism and policy. It provides both ruthless critique of the present and yet a methodology for the invention of hope, which we secularly call ‘the future’. A wild generosity of ideas marks this book. It is a gift to celebrate and gossip about.

Shiv Visvanathan, Professor at Jindal Global University, author of A Carnival of Science

A fresh look at the evolving post-development field. The Post-Development Dictionary authors enrich the symphony of sustainability thinking with stories that restore faith in the human ability to stand against greed, hegemony and despotism. A valuable contribution towards building a counter-epistemic community.

Debal Deb, author of Beyond Developmentality: Constructing Inclusive Freedom and Sustainability

Development as a solution to global crises has long been criticised. A plethora of proposed alternatives exist here, and even if not all are convincing, I am grateful to the editors for assembling them in one volume, summarized by competent authors.

Saral Sarkar, author of Eco-Socialism or Eco-Capitalism?

A real break-through in post-development thinking. This refreshing book dissipates the numerous fuzzy ideas put forward to rescue the development ideology. Instead of proposing one future, a pluriverse of worlds is based on vernacular wisdoms that restore our belonging to nature and prevent growing inequalities.

Gilbert Rist, Professor Emeritus at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva,author of The History of Development: From Western Origins to Global Faith

As linear ideas of progress become self-defeating; driven by capitalist global markets ultimately destructive for life on Earth; critics are stuck in an ideological crisis. Here is a rich menu of narratives that supply meaning to future pathways, and nurture hope.

Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Professor at the Institute of Social Ecology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna

Yes, we know we are in deep trouble, but despite that we continue to act as if we do not know. This book cuts through this impasse and begins to chart really possible pathways for a transition to an ecologically saner, politically more egalitarian, and socially more inclusive world.

Erik Swyngedouw, Professor at the University of Manchester, author of Liquid Power and Promises of the Political

This book is a breath of fresh air. It opens many conceptual doors into a pluriverse of worldviews and practices from around the world, replacing the illusion of conventional thinking about development leading to an ecologically sustainable planet. Whether you agree with the wisdom of plurality or not, this book will leave you thinking about radical social transformations.

Lourdes Beneria, Professor Emerita, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University

For too long the global North has imposed its one-size-fits-all agenda on the global South.  Pluriverse shows that there is not just one alternative to development, but a great many.  This book is an indispensable resource for anyone who has ever asked, ‘What could we do differently?’  Read it, and you will find a wealth of solutions.

Dan O’Neill, Lecturer in Ecological Economics at the University of Leeds and co-author of Enough Is Enough

Between the convulsed and battered world as it exists, and the joyful, wholesome world that lives in our dreams, Pluriverse forms a bridge, as we move forward into the semi-unknown. This book’s magnificent content puts forth real possibilities for building a future where we can live in peace with each other and the planet.

Medea Benjamin, Co-Director of CODEPINK: Women for Peace

Drawing together wildly diverse ideas, practices and visions, while respecting their epistemic and geopolitical contexts, this collection relativises the drive for development that girds global political economies and discourses. Its strategic move towards a pluriverse destabilizes the claim to one universal knowledge that justifies – and is disseminated by – modernist development.

Susan Paulson, Professor at the University of Florida, author of Masculinities and Femininities in Latin America’s Uneven Development

Thirty years of ‘sustainable development’ has only consolidated corporate control over nature. Exposing the shortfalls of this reformism, Pluriverse focuses on a multitude of transformative approaches, with feminism an integral ecopolitical path for creating a just and liveable world.

Greta Gaard, Professor and Coordinator of the Sustainable Justice Minor at University of Wisconsin, River Falls, author of Critical Ecofeminism

A pluriverse is a world in which diverse hopes can be sown, multiple opportunities can be cultivated, and a plurality of meaningful lives can be achieved by the richly different and caring people we are. There are many alternatives to the domineering, profiteering, globalizing, disempowering ‘progress’ of the West.

Richard Norgaard, Professor Emeritus of Energy and Resources, University of California, Berkeley, author of Development Betrayed

Opening this volume, my heartbeat quickened. Here, at last, is a way to understand the alternative future that is being created around the world. I was not disappointed. Pluriverse embodies the principles and diversity it champions in the best possible way. An essential book for all who are fighting for the better world.

Juliet Schor, Professor of Sociology at Boston College, author of Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth

Brilliant! Pluriverse is urgently needed. The power of ideas – carried through words – is the key to understanding how it can be that together humanity is creating a world virtually none of us individually would choose. Words carry whole worldviews, determining what we can see and what we cannot. May this book open our minds, so that we may see what we could not see, and choose consciously what serves life.

Frances Moore Lappé, founder of the Small Planet Institute, author of Diet for a Small Planet and Daring Democracy

Development as practiced has not only failed to bring the promised universal prosperity, it threatens the viability of humans and other Earth life. Defining the path forward requires contributions from a multiplicity of thoughtful and creative minds such as those represented in this ambitious anthology.

David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World and Change the Story, Change the Future

The central question of conventional development theory – How shall we grow? – has become a dangerous and pitiless foundation for the human project. These fraught times demand a fresh response to a different question: – How shall we live? – In this essential compendium, diverse visionaries offer both answers and inspirations.

Paul Raskin, founding President of the Tellus Institute, co-author of The Great Transition

This is a book of dazzling breadth, provocative and persuasive scholarship.

Sylvia Marcos, Mexican feminist activist and scholar

This volume contains an experimental vocabulary in movement about what comes after and beyond the trap of ‘development’. It’s made up of interconnected terms that, in embracing radical interdependence as a politics, account for an emergent landscape: the worlds created on the basis of concrete struggles against capital and a commitment to life. This Dictionary allows us to visualize the multiple geographies of the crisis and their possibilities in real time.

Verónica Gago, Professor of Sociology, Instituto de Altos Estudios, Universidad Nacional de San Martin, Buenos Aires, member of Colectivo Situaciones and author of Neoliberalism from Below

Here is a captivating compilation of ideas and practices about the meanings of wellbeing. This Dictionary helps us to rethink development by making visible other ways of organizing  economy and society based on actual experiences rooted in place and difference. It provides strategically important ideas to question the current conservative turn in global politics and to deepen emancipatory transformations for the flourishing of all life.

Diana Gómez, anthropologist and historian, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá

This post-development dictionary addresses the systemic crisis we are living in by honoring cultural visions from all over the world, so sharpening the debate between reformist and transformative alternatives.

Pablo Solon, former Bolivian Ambassador to the United Nations, activist with the Solon Foundation, and co-author of Systemic Alternatives

This volume fills a need in our knowledge towards action in this critical time for humanity, when all life hangs in the balance. With concise and precise essay-entries it reaches for transformative alternatives and to read, feel, think, and then live and practise its ideas might transform us all… 

John Foran, climate activist

The world is a pluriverse – an emerging archipelago of worlds in struggle – inhabited by a constellation of communitarian weavings that sustain life in the midst of the violent negation of its horizons and desires. Here is a much welcome contribution to debates on development and the dangers of its reformist incantations. It enlightens us on the polymorphic forms of life that thrive in all kinds of places despite crushing universalisms.

Raquel Gutiérrez Aguilar, Professor of Sociology, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, México, author of The Rhythm of the Pachakuti: Indigenous Uprising and State Power in Bolivia

A stimulating look at the remarkable spectrum of experiences, proposals and radical knowledges that challenge the contemporary crisis of civilisation. Pluriverse will nurture the mutual recognition, dialogues, and convergences without which ‘another world’ is hardly possible.

Edgardo Lander, Professor at the Venezuelan Central University in Caracas, author of La colonialidad del saber: eurocentrismo y ciencias sociales

A delight: stimulating, important. The ideas of progress and development take us ever deeper into human disaster. To find a way out of the tragedy, we need to think and act against progress-development. This dictionary will help us a lot.

John Holloway, Professor of Sociology, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Mexico; author of Change the World Without Taking Power and Crack Capitalism

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