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I am not sure of the meaning of this sentence:

The significance of culture and identity in development has to do not so much with the cultural factor in the process of development as with abandoning Eurocentric development thinking.

I'm not sure what the use of as is supposed to convey. Does it mean "development has to do not so much ... as with abandoning", i.e. not as much as abandoning? Does the abandoning have more to do with it?

And the second question: Why does it use "has to do not so much". Why not "has not so much to do"? Is "have to" a verb?

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It's just part of the standard construction "Not so much A as B". The position of "not" can vary, but usually (as in this case) it's placed immediately before whatever it negates. –  FumbleFingers Mar 23 '12 at 14:51
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closed as too localized by FumbleFingers, Daniel, Matt Эллен, RegDwigнt Mar 27 '12 at 12:28

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3 Answers

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Here is the way that I would rephrase it for better understanding:

The significance of culture and identity in development has less to do with the cultural factor in the process of development than it does with abandoning Eurocentric development thinking.

So... the significance is more deeply rooted in the abandonment of Euro-centric development thinking.

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well..so "have to do not much" is not about "have to" (must)? –  Pietro Mar 23 '12 at 15:21
    
I really wanted to answer your second question but could not phrase it the way I wanted to. @FumbleFingers' comment on your question covers it. Do you understand what he is saying? –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Mar 23 '12 at 15:25
    
Thanks, well your explanation seems to be clearer to me because I did not know the construction "not so much X as Y. Regarding the second question, I would expect the sentence to be like "has not so much to do", instead of "have to do" which implied "have to" (obligation) –  Pietro Mar 23 '12 at 15:33
    
Is anything still unclear? We all want your question to have the best possible answer. If someone offers a better answer, you can accept theirs instead. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Mar 23 '12 at 15:36
    
I think I got it.."has something to do with" is a phrase..the word order confused me. Am I correct if I think it could be like this: has not so much to do..." –  Pietro Mar 23 '12 at 15:40
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I can understand your confusion - I would say it's badly written. It's a tricky one for me to understand. You have a combination of two constructs: "to have to do with" and "not so much X as Y". When you understand both of those constructs, it should make more sense.

If I tweak it slightly, the meaning should be clear:

The significance of culture and identity in development has less relevance with "the cultural factor in the process of development" as with "abandoning Eurocentric development thinking.

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Part of the problem with understanding this sentence is its verbiage, the fluff of words that obscure what it says. When analyzing it, first look at its form by replacing several phrases by place-holders. Replace "The significance of culture and identity in development" with "Stuff", replace "the cultural factor in the process of development" with "stuff", and replace "abandoning Eurocentric development thinking" by "stuff", giving:

Stuff has to do not so much with stuff as with stuff.

If symbolically aware, you can instead write "X has to do not so much with Y as with Z". The notion that X has more to do with Z than with Y may now be more clear.

Regarding your other question, on why "has to do not so much" vs "has not so much to do", either form is usable; writers will use whichever they like. Possibly the author of the sentence treats "has to do" as a collocation, and never thinks of dropping anything into the middle of it. My opinion is that "has to do not so much" reads slightly better than does "has not so much to do". My opinion also is that the sentence cannot be expressed clearly without sounding silly because "culture and identity in development" and "cultural factor in the process of development" are nearly the same thing, while "abandoning Eurocentric development thinking" is a non-thing, an absence of something. The sentence is about as good as "X has more to do nothing than with X".

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