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Lewis Winstanley Sociology of Development 3/16/12 5.

Compare and contrast Landsberg's study of East Asia's Development with So's analysis of Hong Kong's development Studies in the area of development seem inevitably to be formed in relation to some theoretical framework. In his book, Social Change and Development, Alvin So maps the history of the theoretical frameworks in the discipline of sociology of development. What is found is that the theoretical frameworks from which scholars base their analysis affects what they perceive to be important as well as the conclusions they draw. However, as time progresses, and the theories with their theorists interact with and react to one another, the lines between the theories begin to blur. Thus, this paper explores the differences and similarities between two theories through two studies, both focusing on about the same geographic region, from two different theoretical perspectives. Looking specifically at the development of Hong Kong after World War II, this paper will compare and contrast a dependency perspective and a world-systems perspective. For the dependency perspective, this paper will look at Landsberg's study on the development of East Asia. For the world-systems perspective, this paper will look at So's analysis of Hong Kong. Although there are similarities between the two perspectives, I

as well as in terms of the agency granted to actors. So's study focuses on a global level. Whereas.argue that the theories differ in terms of the level and extent of analysis. a nation can be seen as core. semi-peripheral. dependency theory analyses development primarily at the national level. Whereas in dependency theory the ability to act appears to be granted only to "developed" nations. his work homogenizes the experience of disparate elements into a single nation-state experience and simplifies things by placing this experience within a binary system. Landsberg focuses his study of development on a national level. As a result. world-systems theory explores how the positions of groups of people can change as a result of both external and internal action. He looks at the effects of a world-system on a specific region. thus national level dynamics are portrayed as a reaction to processes on a . instead of two categories. So shows how world-systems theory illuminates the different factors involved within and without a nation. A further effect of focusing analysis at a national level is that global dynamics appear to be the result of interactions between nations. or peripheral. World systems theory further complicates things by adding a third dimension to the equation. In this way. world-systems takes into account global systems and the internal dynamics of a country. On the other hand. In this theory a nation can be either developed or dependent. These categories are determined in relation to a world-system.

and historical. world-systems theory attempts to break down divisions between the social sciences. pushing the extent of analysis beyond the economic into such arenas as the political. social. Landsberg's study seeks to determine whether or not South Korea. This is a loaded question in that it assumes that models of development are to be found at a national level and that the experiences of any "Third World" country can be relevant to all "Third World" countries. In this way he relates his study to global events. Evidence of this is found in a comparison of the Landsberg and . These differences between the two theories is found. This is another way in which world-systems problematizes the study of development. and Hong Kong represent models of Third World development (123). Taiwan. yet refrains from universalizing the results of his study. Thus.global level. right from the beginning. The theories also differ in the extent of their analysis. On the other hand. So seeks to know why Hong Kong got on the path of industrialization only after World War II and why this industrialization took the form of export-industrialization (230-1). Dependency theory defines dependency as an economic condition. and thus limits the extent of its discussion of development to an economic basis. In contrast. the two theories differ on the level of analysis and this affects the questions they ask. as more attention is given to the specific situation of a country rather than the country's situation within a binary. Singapore. in the questions the two scholars ask.

he situates Hong Kong in a global system that is economic. and historical. He argues that Hong Kong was politically stable because it was right in the middle of the conflict between socialist China and the capitalist bloc (232). the differences between the extent of analysis between dependency theory and world-systems theory affects the conclusions the two scholars make in a circular way. . By contextualizing his arguments historically. depicts the relative success of Hong Kong firms in adapting to a specific amalgamation of conditions. Landsberg shows that the nations he is studying are dependent because: they rely on external demand. he discusses the role of the social dimension of Hong Kong's development. they are in economic competition with other third world countries resulting in a race to the bottom. social. political. noting the lack of class warfare and showing how the combination of refugee labor and refugee capitalists created a situation ripe for industrialization (233). and because the global market is unstable (127-9). taking into account more fields of analysis. Because Landsberg restricts his analysis to an economic level he reasons that the development of Hong Kong represents a model of imperial domination. So's analysis. All of these factors are economic aspects of dependency. raw materials. Further. Overall. On the other hand. social. and historical factors.So analyses. he shows how the political reality of the Cold War gave Hong Kong an economic edge. For example. Alternatively. and markets. So's analysis takes into account political.

In this sense.One more way in which the two theories differ is in the amount of agency given to the actors within the theoretical framework. Hong Kong's industrialization was not simply an imposed condition but a created condition forged through a dialogue between Hong Kong firms. the two scholars end up with significantly different conclusions. Dependent nations are by definition reactive to developed nations. This difference is related to the different theories' ideas as to the direction of development. "Developed" is conceived of as being a powerful capitalist nation. So shows that. a great deal of agency is lent to all who are included in the world-system. world-systems theory allows for both upward and downward movement of groups within the world-system. it would never lead to a self-expanding economy. in fact. Landsberg claims that. and inevitably the losers. because Hong Kong's industrialization was dependent upon external forces. Because Hong Kong firms were not simply passive spectators they were able to adapt to a changing global system and reap a substantial reward as a result. However. Alternatively. As a result of this theoretical difference. the capitalist bloc. Rather than remain statically dependent. the actions of Hong Kong firms and a shifting global situation allowed . and socialist China. Dependency theory posits development as somewhat deterministic. The fact that all countries are reducible to a world-system implies a dynamic interdependence in which actions of any country necessarily change the world order.

the two theories disagree in the agency of actors within their respective frameworks. relegating the dependent nation to the role of passive spectator. Thus. Dependency theory sees development in a deterministic light. the two theories differ in the amount of agency given to the actors within their respective frameworks. and economic factors. world-systems theory explicitly attempts to broaden the extent of its examination.Hong Kong to move positions in the global system from a peripheral. labor-supplying state to a core financial state. dependency theory focusing on the level of the nation and world-systems focusing on a global level. It appears that the different theoretical frameworks have dramatic effects on both what the scholars find significant and on their conclusions. this paper compares and contrasts two theories of development by looking at two separate analyses of development focusing on a similar geographic region. Dependency theory conceives of dependency as an economic condition and thus limits itself to an economic consideration. Alternatively. social. They differ in the extent of their analysis. . In conclusion. taking into account political. The theories differ in terms of the level of their analysis. historical. World-systems theory acknowledges the ever-shifting nature of the world-system and thus lends all actors a good deal of agency. The two studies used were Landsberg's study on East Asian development and So's study on the economic success of Hong Kong. Finally.