Virtual Seminar: "'Batswana Must Develop Themselves’: Self-Development in a Developmental State"


A Kellogg Work-in-Progress Seminar with Visiting Fellow Deborah Durham.

Work-in-Progress Seminars are designed to generate in-depth discussion of new scholarly work. For the pre-circulated paper and instructions on how to join by computer or phone, register with

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.