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Hybrid Cultures of Postdevelopment: The Struggle for Popular Hegemony in Rural Nicaragua


Correspondence: Department of Geography, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand, e-mail: (Cupples); School of Culture, Literature and Society, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, New Zealand, e-mail: (Glynn); Instituto de Investigaciones y Gestión Social, Las Palmas, de los semáforos de Montoya 3 cuadras abajo, 80 vrs al lago, Managua, Nicaragua, e-mail: (Larios).


This article contributes to contemporary debates around “postdevelopment” by examining the new social alliances that are reimagining, rearticulating, and refashioning development discourses and practices in Northern León, an impoverished region on Nicaragua's Pacific coastal strip. We examine the strategies and tactics whereby Northern León's citizens, local leaders, and nongovernmental organizations have reworked the region's cultural, political, and economic terrains in ways that negotiate and contest Northern León's marginalization by the Nicaraguan central government, and that challenge and reshape global spaces and imaginaries constituted through the disciplinary and regulatory discourses of international financial institutions and predatory multinational capital. We draw particularly on Gramscian perspectives and other contemporary theoretical engagements with neoliberalism, globalization, and postdevelopment in order to present the case of Northern León as an opportunity to think through the possibilities for forms of grassroots globalism that mobilize strategies of discursive activism, disarticulation/rearticulation, and “place-projection” in ways that destabilize and disrupt the linear temporalities and spatial fixities of mainstream development thought and practice.