‘Batswana Must Develop Themselves’: Self-Development in a Developmental State
This paper, chapter 3 of a book titled Affective Materialism: Sentiments and Self-Development in Botswana's New Economy, explores the various dimensions of development and self-development in Botswana, and the ways in which ideas about national development, citizenal development, self-development, and intersubjective development are entangled, such that they respond to each other even as each has its own dynamic and history. While self-development in Botswana has long involved both forms of material demonstration of accomplishment and achievement, and also developing a moral selfhood whose intersubjective and intercorporeal dimensions become powerful as one develops maturity, these projects are shaped within a national discourse on development and a changing political economy. This chapter sets the stage for examining how elements of the new consumerism involve both a socially signifying role for people seeking self-development, but also engage what I am calling a phatic emotional force of material objects, which participate in the sentimental projects of intersubjective maturity.
Deborah Durham is a cultural anthropologist. She specializes in the study of youth and identity, both in Botswana and worldwide, and she has also studied aging and the middle class in Turkey. Her recent research has focused on complaints voiced around the world about obtaining adulthood and the meaning of adulthood...