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La metrópoli de Simón Bolívar

Óscar Barboza Lizano
Alexis Toribio Dantas
Katarzyna Dembicz

Epílogo. Discourses and Development Dilemmas of Central American Local Communities: Research Project Presentation

Katarzyna Dembicz

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1Regardless of taking place on different levels, the relations between what is global and what is local create conflict zones, especially at the clash of economic and political powers’ interests. The authors of this book use various contemporary and historical examples to analyse these nexuses and their impact, focusing on different manners, in which global forces empower local spaces by means of e.g. major infrastructural projects such as the Charter Cities or dry canals. The local society that plays the decisive role in such circumstances and —in the light of the growing awareness in regards to civil and human rights, as well as the environmental processes— becomes a crucial actor not only in the field development policies, but also in scientific research. Hence, the human element and the geographical space, which seemingly disappear in the implementation of global economic plans, often become critical points, as the endogenous and exogenous perspectives tend to be completely dissimilar, if not opposing.

2After multiple years of international collaboration, we are putting forward a project, whose prime objective is to present the different approaches to the concept of development which, as we believe, are the principal contributor to dilemmas, disagreements and social conflicts in the world. To exemplify the issue, based on the findings from the works we carried out in the region, we have used the case of Central America and its local societies in the context of their geostrategic characteristics and historical experiences.

3Below, we shall present a new project for the years 2019- 2022. The project involves a team of international experts and is funded by the Polish National Centre of Science.

1. Premises and State of the Art

4In the scientific literature from the first half of the 20th century the issue of development was discussed only to a small extent. But later two important events resulted in a wider analysis of these topics: these were the effects of the financial crisis of 1929 and World War II. This fact is highlighted by, among others, Osvaldo Sunkel in his article El desarrollo de la teoría del desarrollo [Development of the Development Theory], where he says: "it was difficult to find the word ‘development’ in the titles of books published before 1950. Universities at that time did not have teaching offer of such subjects, there were also no scientific institutes dealing with this matter" (Sunkel, 1981: 29).

5The second half of the 20th century is the period in which new concepts regarding development, its goals and means are formulated. This was mainly due to the rise of European economies from the Second World War damage and the growing social and economic problems of the so-called Third World. These two geographical regions and development policies addressed to them would in the following years determine the way of perceiving and defining development. On one hand they would emphasize economic elements and, thus, concentrate on growth, but on the other hand also the social and mainly qualitative aspects. Ways of interpreting what development is and what it should serve for, have been and still are manifold. In the next paragraphs we will present and use those, that are the premise for an implementation of our research project.

6According to Günnar Myrdal, a theoretician who made a huge contribution to the perception of developmental issues, development

is a process that causes upward changes in the social system. The social system is here understood as group of factors related to each other in a causal manner: performance and income, production conditions, standard of living, attitudes towards way of life and work, institutions, policies. (Jałowiecki, 1989: 16-17)

  • 24 Most of citations are own translations.

7We decided to cite this fragment for several reasons: firstly because of the influence of Myrdal’s work on the evolution of concepts for social and regional development (among others in North and South America). The second motivation results from our attempt to pay attention to qualitative elements, which are sometimes hard to measure, such as human attitudes. Finally, Myrdal had also influenced other important researcher: Celso Furtado who was a representative of the Latin American ’school’ of economics for many years associated with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC/CEPAL). The way this Brazilian economist understood the development influenced, among other things, the creation of Dependency theory, which contributed to the evolution of the way of defining development. According to Celso Furtado, "a man desiring to use his own potential, transforms the world and generates development" (Furtado, 1980: 7). At the same time, it is necessary to mention the definition of development proposed by a co-founder of the Dependency theory, Fernando H. Cardoso, who believes that the concept has expanded and now "includes issues of environmental protection, social justice, minority rights and at the same time assumes macroeconomic stability and clarity about the rules"24 (Padeé J., 2003: 56). It should be noted here that Cardoso was an opponent of formulating general rights. He believed that societies should be analyzed in their specific situation (environment). This is why he also defines elements that should be taken into account when analyzing the development of backward societies (thinking of Latin American ones), which are: world market conditionings, the structure of the national economic system and its connections with the external market, historical and structural configuration of these societies (including forms of distribution and maintaining power), as well as political movements and processes that seek change, with their respective orientations and motivations (Cardoso & Faletto, 1987).

8The development goals, which were defined by the International Development Strategy in 1970 (UNRISD, 1979: 110) will complement the complexity and multiplicity of understanding of development saying that:

As the ultimate purpose of development is to provide increasing opportunities to all people for a better life, it is essential to bring about a more equitable distribution of income and wealth for promoting both social justice and efficiency of production, to raise substantially the level of employment, to achieve a greater degree of income security, to expand. and improve facilities for education, health, nutrition, housing and social welfare, and to safeguard the environment. Thus, qualitative and structural changes in the society must go hand in hand with rapid economic growth, and existing disparities-regional, sectoral and social-should be substantially reduced. These objectives are both determining factors and end-results of development; they should therefore be viewed as integrated parts of the same dynamic process and would require a unified approach.

9The turn of the 20th and 21st centuries brings a new debate on development, primarily due to the Earth Summit organized in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The rationale for this new debate was both the criticism of the definition of development in the second half of the twentieth century as a panacea for any manifestations of underdevelopment, unresolved socio-economic problems, new challenges related to climate change on the global scale, as well as difficulties with taking into account non-measurable factors such as well-being, health or happiness in defining the level and objectives of development. These dilemmas were addressed by the proposal of sustainable development, which has evolved and specified over time. In recent decades, the United Nations has largely contributed to the development and promotion of this strategy.

10The concept of eco-development appeared for the first time in 1972 at the UN World Conference on the Human Environment. It was proposed by Maurice Strong and immediately replaced the expression: eco-eco (abbreviation for economics and ecology). Initially, the concept had a narrow meaning, as it meant a development strategy based on a reasonable use of local resources and farmers’ skills and was aimed primarily at developing countries (Sachs, 1981: 77). Currently, there are many definitions of sustainable development. The one formulated in 1987 in the report Our Common Future of the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) is especially important:

11Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:

  • the concept of ’needs’, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
  • the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs. (WCED, 1987: 43)

12Many Polish researchers (Szlajfer, 1985; Gorzelak, 1989; Lisocka-Jaegermann, 2011) joined the global debate on development, among others Bolesław Domański (2004). In the article “Krytyka pojęcia rozwoju a studia regionalne” [Criticism of the concept of development and regional studies], he proves that the current critique of the development concepts that has been developed up to now, points at unification of the diversity of regions and development processes, treating this process as linear, aiming for a determined final objective. In his analysis, he takes into account the relationship between development and the geographical scale of the phenomenon. He critically refers to the reification of only analytical divisions distinguishing regions of lower and higher level of development. He claims that the observation of this fact does not explain much because in fact we deal with the wealth of different types of regions and development paths. Domański touches on important problem in the debate on development. Assuming that there is no single path of development and, consequently, one definition of this phenomenon, it is conditioned mainly by factors characteristic of the area we are taking into consideration, the area that we want to focus on. This remark clearly indicates the existence of conflicting objectives of development, difficulties in reconciling of its vision and defining the development itself, depending on the scale it concerns - macro (global) or micro (local). Works and observations of the outstanding expert on development issues - Sergio Boisier (2006) follow in a similar direction. In his critical approach to defining development, he points to its tautologization, which causes even more confusion about this issue and, consequently, its frequent rejection. In the same time, looking for arguments for development, he points to the fact that it is more and more often perceived as a process that has more to do with being than owning, connected with intangible and subjective perception of the world. One of the most utopian definition of development refers to these qualitative characteristics - Human Scale Development, in which development is defined in the following way:

Such development is focused and based on the satisfaction of fundamental human needs, on the generation of growing levels of self-reliance, and on the construction of organic articulations of people with nature and technology, of global processes with local activity, of the personal with the social, of planning with autonomy and of civil society with the State. (Max Neef, Elizalde, Hopenhayn, 1991: 8)

13Its authors, Manfred Max-Neef, Antonio Elizalde and Martín Hopenhayn (1991), based on the experience of Latin American countries, very specifically indicate that development cannot take place through top-down actions and decisions. In their opinion, only the self-determination of their own needs by local communities in the context of the growing influences of global phenomena is a prerequisite for the development process to occur:

Human needs, self-reliance and organic articulations are the pillars which supports Human Scale Development. However, these pillars must be sustained on a solid foundation which is the creation of those conditions where people are the protagonists in their future. If people are to be the main actors in Human Scale Development, both the diversity as well as the autonomy of the spaces in which they act must be respected. Attaining the transformation of an object-person into a subject-person in the process of development is, among other things, a problem of scale. There is no possibility for the active participation of people in gigantic systems which are hierarchically organized and where decisions flow from the top down to the bottom. (Ibidem)

14This last proposal is part of the new debate about development and the paradigm to which the interpretation of this process should be subjected. We refer to the post-development and trans-development proposals that emerged at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st. Both criticize the proposals and interpretation of development arising from Eurocentrism. Post-development idea was born as an alternative to the classic concept of development and the paradigm of modernity. Critics of development in the paradigm of modernity accused this proposal of seeking to transform cultures, societies and economies of the Third World according to the Western model, by imposing its definitions and development policies. In this Western discourse, underdevelopment was identified with indigenous communities and development associated with modernity of Western economies and societies (Ferguson, 1990; Escobar, 1996; Esteva, 1996; Escobar, 2005). Rejecting the deep interventionism of the West in the process of defining development and acting under it in Latin American countries and other underdeveloped regions, the post-developmentalists and post-structuralists did not want to create another / new proposal, but respond to the concern: How did this happen that Asia, Africa and Latin America were determined as the "Third World" and why did they believe that they actually were the "Third and underdeveloped World".

15Critics of this model of development indicated at several elements and circumstances that led to this worldview and grouped them into four: the historical conditioning factors (postcolonial heritage), the structure of the discourse, the dissemination of this discourse and finally the exclusion from the access to know-how. Among these we need to mention the role of international institutions that helped to spread the Western visions of development. The deconstruction of development led poststructuralists to raise the possibility of birth of an "era of post-development". For some this generally meant an era in which development would no longer be the central organizing principle of social life (Escobar, 1996); an era in which development would not take place "only under the gaze of the West" (Mohanty, 1991). Others added to this characterization a revaluation of vernacular cultures, the need to depend less on the knowledge of experts and more on the attempts of ordinary people, to build more human, culturally and ecologically sustainable worlds. The importance of taking into account social movements and grassroots mobilizations as the basis for approaching to the new era was also highlighted (Rist, 1997; Esteva, 1999). The postmodern visions of post-development focus on local societies, dissociating them or putting them in opposition to the processes and effects of globalization. However, the post-development debate has helped create an environment that has encouraged more eclectic and pragmatic approaches. If anything has become clear from the discussions on the post-development in the nineties, is a greater willingness by many authors to adopt constructive elements of various trends and paradigms (Arce & Long, 2000; Peet & Hartwick, 1999).

16From this position another new proposal arises; that of trans-development under the paradigm of trans-modernity. Trans-modernity is a worldview that tries to interpret all spheres of life through intersubjective consensus, combining faith, reason and imagination, with a view to the participatory construction of projects that allow the fulfillment of people’s expectations. Consensus and participation are the main foundations of this worldview. Antonio Luis Hidalgo-Capitán and Ana Patricia Cubillo-Guevara in their book Transmodernidad y transdesarrollo (2016) propose such a definition of trans-development which we could synthesize as trans-modern paradigm of well-being. It focuses on satisfaction of people’s material and immaterial needs, through a process of participation (under the principles of social equity and environmental sustainability) in which those needs are formulated and means which must be used to satisfy them are chosen. This process of participation implies that each community can concretize the meaning of its own well-being, which does not have to be identical to that of another community, but it does respect those principles.

17The great distinction between both ideas: post-development and trans-development is the geographical area to which they are directed. In post-development, the local area is the reference. In the trans-development proposal is local, regional, national and international level, thanks to a wide view and acceptance of globalizing element with social interconnections through the communication media. The human in the post-development is a critical individual, however the trans-development adds other much more important characteristics as solidarity and environmentalism. The roles of men and women are not linked to the roles created by the autonomous communities, but are seen as builders of social and environmental harmony. We could identify many more differences between these concepts, however they both led us to present this research proposal, which is also inspired by the thought of Boaventura de Sousa Santos (2002). His observations on the evolution of modernist and developmentalist thinking suggest that we are transcending the paradigm of modernity in two senses: epistemological and sociopolitical. The epistemological aspect implies diminution of the domain of modern science and opening to a plurality of forms of knowledge. From the sociopolitical side, there is a shift of focus from global capitalism to other emerging forms such as social movements and international solidarity. These global transitions are fundamental for our research proposal.

18All the above observations can be applied to our proposal for research on development. This is where the theoretical and methodological foundations of our research proposal are based, in which the local-social element, the own/local/subjective perception and the discourses play an important role to define the development. However, these definitions do not only serve to broaden knowledge about the local level of development. They can or should be used to improve and deepen universal knowledge in relation to development and explain better the existing diversity and / or dichotomy of its visions.

2. Research Project Objectives

19The evolution of the way of thinking about development, the number of its definitions and their diversity indicate that it is an extremely up-to-date subject, in which the local perspective, qualitative elements, and above all the empowerment of individuals and local communities, play an increasingly important role. The existence of various development paths depending on the specific place, and thus the final effects of this process, indicate that the development should be studied from different perspectives and places. We are convinced, following the definition of Max-Neef (1991), that local communities and their ideas about development are an important source of information on how to perceive development and how to formulate development policies, in its local and global dimension as well. At the same time Central America is an important region for research on the development, where for centuries global and local, political and economic interests clash. This kind of relationship has taken place since the period of great geographical discoveries. The Old World appropriated the spaces of the New World. Today we are dealing with similar process in which international and global economic forces subordinate economically and politically local spaces and communities to the implementation of specific projects. As a result of these activities, the population of these areas is exposed to the dichotomy of thinking about development: as a quantitative and upward process, versus a qualitative one, and the modern versus traditional values. It is reflected in the growing conflicts resulting from different ideas of goals and outcomes to which development policies and actions are supposed to lead. This dichotomy in thinking about development is being gradually rejected, both in the world of politics as in science, also due to increased listening to the voices of local communities.

20The proposed project fits in these trends of scientific research on development, in which the immanent part is the analysis of visions, ideas and understanding of what is development as seen by communities and individuals. As a geographic area of research, we propose the region of Central America, where several strategic investments in infrastructure development were located in the first half of the 20th century, such as the trans-oceanic railway in the Isthmus of Panama, Panamanian Highway and the Panama Canal. These projects were carried out in the spirit of perception of development as an upward and quantitative growth process, and were to serve primarily for the economic growth of the United States and the Western world (Aportela & Durán, 2012).

21The particularity of Central America results from the geostrategic location - between Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, and between the USA and South America - as well as its natural and mineral resources. The location of new and planned construction of infrastructure projects of a global character in this region underlines its importance. This happens due to the modernization of the Panama Canal, the construction of a hub port and the economic zone in Mariel (Cuba), trans-oceanic rail and road in Honduras, the construction of a canal in Nicaragua, or the charter cities project in Honduras. There are many other similar projects in the region that are in the immediate area of our scientific focus.

22Our intention is to examine local perceptions of development including the discourses around this topic, through selected local communities of Central America. This is the main goal of the project, with the hypothesis, that the local communities are subjected to westernization of their ways of life, through the localization of infrastructural projects, as well as clash of values of Western civilization with traditions and local cultures’ values. This is expressed in their developmental dilemmas and discourses. They often take forms of protests and social conflicts resulting from the reciprocal misunderstanding about what is development and how do individual actors and social groups perceive and understand it. This conflict is most often caused by the interference of external forces, often of the foreign capital, through large investments in economic infrastructure (mega projects) and the official neoliberal political discourse. In order to be able to verify the hypothesis, the research will be carried out in accordance with the following specific objectives:

  1. Presentation and explanation of social perceptions of development, in the context of local changes resulting from the location of large economic infrastructure;
  2. Showing the interference and interdependencies between regional and local socio-political discourses and the external economic and political forces;
  3. Providing knowledge about individual and collective attitudes of local communities in Central America towards the way of life and work;
  4. Indication of relations between economic and demographic changes in the investigated communities and the developmental dilemmas they are faced with, which result from the location of the investments;
  5. Enrichment of the knowledge of social understanding of development through creation of a picture (s) and definition of development, based on the conducted research and its compilation and comparison with the functioning definitions of development.

23The research will be carried out on previously selected areas, taking into account those included in the preliminary research procedure, where there were social conflicts resulting from the location of large infrastructure projects, namely:

  • Hydroelectric plants (Reventazón in Costa Rica and Barro Blanco in Panama)
  • Mega tourist parks (Guanacaste in Costa Rica and Bahia de Tela in Honduras),
  • Mines„ Libertad” and„ La India” in Nicaragua.

3. Methods of research

24The proposed research project refers to the paradigm of interdisciplinarity, drawing on the theoretical and conceptual achievements of various scientific disciplines. For this reason, during the investigations a variety of theories and research methods will be applied. In particular, we are going to refer to sociology, geography and economy, disciplines that made significant contribution to research on development as a phenomenon and, contributed to the evolution of its definition and understanding. At the same time, we will use the theoretical bases of post-modern and trans-modern thought in the definition and understanding of development. These theoretical bases were presented above in the section referring to the state of art, that’s why we can confirm that the development, as a phenomenon, refers to the experiences of global and local studies. Globalization is a product of the Developed Economies, the process of colonization and subordination of the regions called underdeveloped or Third World. This process contributed to change of local systems and societies toward westernization of their lifes, and we can say that globalization casts a shadow and strongly affects the local systems and their societies. For the western world, development is a synonym of modernity. Modernity expresses the desire to impose order and meaning on nature and society; to conquer all potential sources of uncertainty, to suppress the unexpected, and to transform all things into accessible and manageable. It can be said that the problem of order is somehow present in all societies. Order appears as a task, as a matter of design and action. In Bauman’s words: “We can think of modernity as of a time when order – of the world, of the human habitat, of the human self, and of the connection between all three – is reflected upon; a matter of thought, of concern, of a practice that is aware of itself…” (Bauman, 1991: 5). This awareness, thought and practice about development we want to investigate among local societies, and for this we will use different methods and scientific techniques.

25The complexity of the project requires various forms of methodological actions, such as:

  • Library query,
  • Field observation,
  • In-depth qualitative interview,
  • Quantitative interviews (surveys),
  • Team workshops.

26We will use a variety of analysis types:

  • Statistical analysis,
  • Content analysis and
  • Comparative analysis.

27In general, the basis of the workshop is the synthesis and analysis of materials and information obtained through the conduct of a library query (compact works, journals, statistical and cartographic materials), fieldworks with the in-depth interviews and surveys. The analysis process for field observations and collected bibliographical material will utilize systematic and logical thinking to allow the integration of various scientific disciplines. Press materials will be subjected to content analysis in order to learn about and interpret discourses generated around the implementation of selected infrastructural projects. The main challenge for field research is to find the right, understandable and not biasing language to talk about development. Both thinking and speaking about development as well as Europocentric research techniques do not always match the reality of Latin American local communities. We face the risk of the data bias from the very beginning of the project. Therefore, in the first place we will reach for the tool of individual in-depth interviews. It will revolve not so much around the development theme, but rather around personal history of life, the biographical technique works very well in Latin American communities. We want to hear a spontaneous story about the fortunes of the researched community, with not prompted assessment of the processes occurring there. Individual life goals and an image of a desired future for their own family and community will indicate the desirable directions of development in an indirect way. The goal is to recognize a bottom-up understanding of development that does not necessarily have to be "dressed up" in this word. The goals, processes and language expressed during the qualitative stage of the research will be also used in the construction of a quantitative tool.

28At the same time, we will conduct interviews with experts, representatives of local administration, business, politicians and foreign investors.

29So far, we have learnt that also the commonly used quantitative research tools/ questionnaires are often incomprehensible, and at best - not very adaptable to local communities. Likert scales or various numerical scales, although very convenient in later analyzes, are not only little accurate, but also cause respondent’s confusion and discomfort. This is not our goal. The proposed quantitative research tool will not be a typical survey questionnaire, but rather a specially designed form in which most of the questions will not have a traditional answer list read out to the respondent, but rather a list of pre-coded answers, so that the interviewer can easily choose the one closest to the respondent’s answer. Both the wording of the questions and available pre-codes will be built on the basis of previous qualitative research. The form will also include spaces for interviewers’ observation notes. Due to the importance of the role of the interviewer and the need to minimize the interviewer’s effect, the quantitative survey will be preceded by thorough training and piloting. The entire data collection process will also be subject to ongoing control.

30In the project a comparative analysis approach will be applied, especially the technique of factor analysis. It is due to reduce a large number of variables that we will obtain during our investigation into fewer numbers of factors. This technique extracts maximum common variance from all variables and puts them into a common score.

4. Significance of the Project

31Currently, local communities in research on development are their immanent part. This mainly concerns the creation of policies and activities targeted at specific regions and territories. Increasingly, also practical experience and regional identities are reflected in the definitions of development that function in the official international circulation of the world of politics and international relations. In the case of sustainable development and buen vivir policy (Sumak kawsay) (Santos, 2010), this is exactly what is happening. Local and regional experiences, including indigenous peoples, have been translated into building development concepts; cultural and social elements are key for them. It is reflected also in the above presented debate on development and the last concepts and definitions, as post- and trans-development proposals, including the Human Scale Development.

32We are convinced that our proposal will contribute to broadening of the understanding and perception of the concept of "development" and “quality of life”, taking into account the social and cultural dimensions, focusing both on collective imageries created by discourses and manifested in collective protests, as well as individual attitudes and everyday knowledge. Thanks to the conducted research, more attention will be paid to:

  • Content of the written communication, discourse, public debate on development in Central American societies;
  • Attitudes towards tradition, the natural environment, modernization and work;
  • Diversity of perceptions of the development process and duality emerging from it;
  • The reciprocal misunderstanding of parties participating in the debate about development;
  • Conflicts resulting from this misunderstanding and contradictory interests and development goals to which various parties aim.

33The debate about lack of understanding of the aspirations of the communities and different cultures is not something new, it has been present for decades. Charles Percy Snow (1959) wrote and pointed at them in his groundbreaking and timeless essay Two Cultures and Scientific Revolution, in which he shows the interaction and growing gap between poor and rich countries, a scientific revolution covering not only Western countries, but also the Soviet Union and China and the growing misunderstanding within the scientific community regarding the goals and paths of development. Snow’s concept was strongly criticized, but at the same time was flattened in interpretation. Often reference was made only to the first part of the work – the Two Cultures, that clashed in their visions of the world – limiting the description of the conflict about which Snow wrote, to a conflict between the sciences and the humanities. However, the Scientific Revolution (the second part of the title of Snow’s book) and deepening disproportions between rich and poor countries give a deeper and wider dimension to the conflict about which C.P. Snow wrote and spoke. The Snow’s world is a reality where visions of technocrats and politicians collide with scientific and philosophers’ interpretations. It is a world where economic growth attitudes are praises and own interests and subjectivism clash with objective visions.

34Snow did not advocate any of the parties; he did not ask who is right but whether if it is possible to reach agreement for the sake of future generations, without depriving them of the joy of living on our planet, in prosperity:

The feelings of one pole become the anti-feelings of the other. If the scientists have the future in their bones, then the traditional culture responds by wishing the future did not exist.
It is the traditional culture, to an extent remarkably little diminished by the emergence of the scientific one, which manages the western world. This polarisation is sheer loss to us all. To us as people, and to our society. It is at the same time practical and intellectual and creative loss, and I repeat that it is false to imagine that those three considerations are clearly separable. But for a moment I want to concentrate on the intellectual loss. (Snow, 1959: 6)

35Despite many attempts, the world is still unable to reach agreement on the issue of development, its goals and aspirations. The research that we propose will join the global debate on development and provide information and updates on the vision of development from a local perspective. It will give an evidence of conflicting ideas about development and its goals, and the lack of agreement about the objective to which we should strive as a humanity. Central America is a very indicated area to develop the proposed research topic. On the one hand because of its socio-economic and political complexity, and geostrategic localization. On the other hand, it belongs to the Latin American region in which different definitions of development and different development policies have arisen, and to which western decisions of this process have been applied and imposed.

36We therefore think that deepening knowledge about how the local population understand what development is, will contribute to a better understanding of the complexity of development issues, and in the long run will contribute to bridging the differences between the two visions of the world that C.P. Snow has written about, as well as mitigating conflicts.

37The project can also be considered original, taking into account the theoretical approach, the ideas created in the 21st century. On the one hand, giving subjectivity to local communities, which are irreplaceable elements in defining and understanding what development is, on the other hand they are an indicator (like a litmus paper) of threats that global / external interests constitute for cultures and local communities. Also we will try to contribute to the evolution of the development theory, within the postmodern and trans-modern approach.

38To sum up, our research fulfills the condition of basic research, at the same time contributing to the development of science and scientific debate on a specific topic which is defining and understanding of development and quality of life, breaking the divisions between disciplines. In order to be able to study and interpret the subject of development, one should reach methodology and research tools from the fields of sociology, geography and economics.

39The results of the research are directly related to the objectives and formulated hypothesis. They contribute to a wider multidimensional view of the development, paying attention to its local significance and perception. At the same time, they will increase our knowledge about the different perceptions of development as a phenomenon, and the existing differences between local and global vision. Such approach complements the development of ontological and epistemological foundations for development studies.

40The obtained results will contribute to:

  • Broadening the knowledge about the development, its perceptions and understanding;
  • Enlargement of the knowledge about the local effects of implementation of infrastructural investments;
  • Presentation of the discourse and debate generated around the development in Central America;
  • Drawing attention to the existing differences in the perception of the development.

41We are convinced that the study will have indirect impact in the development of contemporary regional and global studies.



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24 Most of citations are own translations.


Profesora, investigadora y docente de la Universidad de Varsovia. Grado de Doctora Habilitada obtenido en la Universidad Jaguelónica de Cracovia, Polonia. Ph.D. en Geografía Humana, con su trabajo de tesis “La región y el desarrollo regional en los conceptos socio-económicas de la CEPAL". Postgrado en Estudios Latinoamericanos: "América Latina en el mundo contemporáneo", CESLA, Universidad de Varsovia. Entre 2011-2013, coordinadora del proyecto “ ¿Quo Vadis Cuba? Implicaciones para Europa y Polonia”, financiado por el Centro Nacional de Ciencia de Polonia. Actualmente es la directora de la revista Ameryka Łacińska. Fue secretaria general de la Red Europea de Documentación e Información sobre América Latina (REDIAL). Áreas de interés: estudios latinoamericanos, transformaciones demográficas en América Latina, desarrollo territorial, mega obras, Cuba y el Caribe. Libros recientes: (2016) PosCuba. Lo imponderable de la transformación insular.

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