Words, as Wolfgang Sachs has demonstrated in The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge and Power (1982), take on different meanings depending upon the assumptions of the cultural group using them. From the perspective of Third World cultures, words that in the West are associated with progress and development represent the language of colonization. When these same words are understood in terms of the assumptions and vital interests of Third World cultures, they take on an entirely different meaning.
The meaning of
words used by educational reformers who have as their goals universal emancipation,
a linear form of progress, and the continuation of an anthropocentric understanding
of human/Nature relationship is, from an ecojustice and revitalization of the
commons perspective, part of the language that continues the tradition of Western
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