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Queering Human Capital: a post-structuralist discourse analysis of the World Bank's Human Capital Project

In “Queering Human Capital,” I embark on an analysis of the World Bank’s recently unveiled Human Capital Project in an attempt to understand the potential impacts of using economically driven language to describe individuals in developing countries. The World Bank has made a clear rhetorical shift from their austerity policies of the 1980s and 90s; however, I wanted to determine if this shift in ideology and approach is truly more than surface-level, and that question guides this thesis. I explore the Bank's current approach to development by analyzing the discourse and language used in World Bank documents pertaining to the Human Capital Project through a queer, feminist, post-structuralist approach. In doing so, the dehumanizing implications of the Human Capital Project’s rhetoric are shown, the underlying assumptions guiding development practice today are questioned, and potential alternatives to capitalist and neoliberal development practices are explored.

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