Monthly Archives: September 2018

Development and education: the Organisation for European Economic Co-operation and postwar development discourse

Dr. Michele Alacevich (University of Bologna) At the end of World War II, Italian anti-fascist Carlo Levi published his memoir of one year of internal exile in Southern Italy. In it, Levi describes “that other world, hedged in by custom and sorrow, cut off from History and the State . . . where the peasant lives out his motionless civilization on barren ground in remote poverty”.1 Translated into English in 1947, Levi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli quickly became a classic—not only for readers interested in narrative and memoirs, but also for anthropologists and social scientists. “Christ stopped short of here, at Eboli” was the way Levi’s peasants signified they excluded from human civilization, part of a world of immutable backwardness.2 As I have shown in my article “Planning Peace: The European Roots of the Post-War Global Development Challenge” (Past & Present, Volume 239, Issue 1, 1 May 2018, pp. 219–264), Levi’s book was only one—though an important one—of the many channels through which the concepts of backwardness and development emerged from the specific context of eastern and south-eastern Europe via southern Italy to global discourse. (As an addendum to my article: I recently stumbled upon a World Bank internal correspondence […]