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Muhammed hasnain kabir





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Development theory is a conglomeration or a

collective vision of theories about how desirable
change in society is best achieved. Such
theories draw on a variety of social science
disciplines and approaches. In this article,
multiple theories are discussed, as are recent
developments with regard to these theories.
Depending on which theory that is being looked
at, there are different explanations to the
process of development and their inequalities.

The concepts of development and progress are often used in a positive sense to
indicate the processes of advancement of individual or of collective phenomena or of
objects or of actions. Human society has made a long journey in this; so is the concept
of development. For centuries development was understood as progress, thereafter as
growth, as change, as transfer of notion, as modernization and so on. Very recently it
is understood (along with economic) as social and human development as well. As we
proceed to understand the notion of development, we encounter several related
notions, viz., evolution, progress, change, growth, transformation and so on.

The notion evolution is derived from the Latin word evolvere . It means to develop or
to unfold. The concept of evolution is specifically applied to mean the internal growth
of a living organism the plant, animals, etc. Moreover, internal growth has also seen
through various stages of gradual transition. For example, seeds evolve to seedling
then to plants, to trees and then starts the maturity and aging process of the trees.

The notion of progress, on the other hand, is used to mean to step forward. The
fundamental meaning of progress, therefore, is the forward march or advancement
towards a desirable end.

Development and Progress examined by the sociologist

The ideas of Morgan, Comte, Spencer, Marx, Durkheim , Weber and many others are
still considered for examining the journey of human society through various stages of
development and progress.

Auguste Comte
He divided the study of society into two parts: social statics (the study of major
institutions or institutional complexes) and social dynamics (the study of development
and change).
Comte observed that certain types of societies were dying and others were being born.
The dying types were the theological and military. Medieval society was united by
transcendent faith as expounded by the Catholic Church. Theological thinking was
contemporaneous with the predominance of military activity, which was expressed by
the fact that the highest rank was granted to warriors.
The type being born was scientific and industrial. In this society the scientists replaced
the theologians; and the industrialists, businessmen, managers and financers replaced
the warriors. Indeed from the moment man related thinking scientifically, the chief
activity of collectivities ceases to be the war of man against man and becomes the
struggle of man against nature, the systematic exploitation of natural resources (Ibid:

Karl Marx
In the social production which man carry on, they enter into definite relations that are
indispensable and independent of their will, their relations of production correspond to
a definite stage of development of their material powers of production. The sum total
of these relations of production constitute the economic structure of society, the real
foundation on which rise the legal and political superstructures and to which correspond
definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production in material life
determines the general character of the social political and spiritual processes of life.
At a certain stage of their development, the material forces of production in society
come in conflict with the existing relations of production.Then comes the period of social
revolution. With the change in the economic foundation the entire immense
superstructure ismore or less rapidly transformed to reference (Marx 1992).

Development as Multiple Connotations: There are several connotations about

development, such as development as growth, development as change or
transformation and development as modernisation.

a) Growth: In economic terms, development as growth refers to an increased capacity

to produce consumption goods and a concomitant increase in consumption patterns
b) Change and Transformation: Development as change and transformation refers to
the economic, social, political and cultural processes of change in human societies
(Schrijvers 1993).
c) Modernisation: Development is also understood as modernisation,though some may
disagree about them being one and the same thing. Often modernisation being seen as
a means to development. In the economic realm it refers to the processes of
industrialization , urbanization and technological transformation of agriculture.

Capitalist, Socialist and Third World Models of Development

Economic development has been the prime concern of the modern state.However, this
concern has been widely linked with the ideology and power structure of the state. As
the nature of the power structure and state ideology are diverse, there have emerged
diverse models of economic development across the globe.The industrial and political
rise of the West and Southern Europe and North America on the one side, and Russia
and communist states on the other, alongside the stagnation of a vast number of nations
with low productivity, industrial backwardness and poverty gave rise to the First, Second
and Third World models of development respectively, i.e., Capitalist, Socialist and
Third World.

The Third World is represented by the ex-colonial, newly independent and non-aligned
countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America who are industrially backward. Indeed the
Third World development perspectives are caught between the conflicting ideologies of
the First and Second world. These countries represented a diverse variety in terms of
their socio-cultural and political setting and historical experiences and levels of
technological and economic development. However, notwithstanding these variations
these countries are economically and technologically underdeveloped, and are
undergoing the process of nation-building and fast social transformation in the
post-colonial era. As against these backdrops, these countries have been experimenting
with diverse models of development. For example, India has followed the path of mixed
economy by adopting a path of development in between the capitalist and socialist
Modernization Theory

One of the central concern of the sociology of development is change. In societies of all
times there is change affecting every realm of life social, economic, cultural,
technological, demographic, ecological and so on. Modernization theory is the theory
used to summarize modern transformations of social life. Modernization theory is used
to explain the process of modernization within societies. Modernization refers to a model
of a progressive transition from a 'pre-modern' or traditonal' to a 'modern' society.
Modernization theory originated from the ideas of German sociologist Max weber (1864-
1920), which provided the basis for the modernization paradigm developed by Harvard
sociologist Talcott Parsons (1902-1979). The theory looks at the internal factors of a
country while assuming that with assistance, "traditional" countries can be brought to
development in the same manner more developed countries have been.
Modernization means the appearance of modes of social life or organization which
emerged in Europe from about the seventeenth century onwards and which
subsequently became more or less worldwide in their influence(Giddens, 1991).
Modernization theories explain the changing ways of communication and media use in
traditional and (post)modern societies.

Modernization theory has evolved in three waves. The first wave appeared in the 1950s
and 1960s. One made the attempt to explain the diffusion of Western styles of living,
technological innovations and individualist types of communication (highly selective,
addressing only particular persons) as the superiority of secular, materialist, Western,
individualist culture and of individual motivation and achievement (Lerner, 1958),
Schramm, 1964).
This first wave of theory produced three variants (McQuail, 2000: 84):
1. Economic development: mass media promote the global diffusion of many
technical and social innovations that are essential to modernization (Rogers,
1962). See Diffusion of Innovations theory.
2. Literacy and cultural development: mass media can teach literacy and other
essential skills and techniques. They encourage a state of mind favorable to
modernity, e.g. the imagination of an alternative way of life beyond the traditional
3. National identity development: mass media could support national identities in
new nations (colonies) and support attention to democratic policies (elections).
Most of these theories have been discredited because of their pro-Western bias.

The second wave of modernization theory is a part of the critical theory that was popular
in the 1970s and 1980s. It does not support but criticize the influence of Western
modernization. This is held to be a case of Western cultural and economic imperialism or
dominance (Schiller, 1976).

The third wave of modernization theory rising in the 1990s is the theory of late-, high- or
post modernity. It tries to be more neutral, being not in favor or against Western
modernization. Rather it attempts to unearth the contradictions in the modernization
process and to explain the consequences of modernity for individuals in contemporary
society (Giddens, 1991a, 1991b). Giddens showed that modern society is characterized
by time-space distantiation and disembedding mechanisms. Traditional society is based
on direct interaction between people living close to each other. Modern societies stretch
further and further across space and time using mass media and interactive media.
Disembedding mechanisms such as money, symbolic means, English as the lingua
franca and the Internet help to lift out and activities in an abstract or online form that
were once embedded in particular material goods and in places.


From the 1960s modernization theory has been criticized by numerous scholars,
including Andre Gunder Frank (1929 2005) and Immanuel Wallerstein(born 1930). In
this model, the modernization of a society required the destruction of the indigenous
culture and its replacement by a more Westernized one. By one
definition, modern simply refers to the present, and any society still in existence is
therefore modern. Proponents of modernization typically view only Western society as
being truly modern and argue that others are primitive or unevolved by comparison. That
view sees unmodernized societies as inferior even if they have the same standard of
living as western societies. Opponents argue that modernity is independent of culture
and can be adapted to any society. Japan is cited as an example by both sides. Some
see it as proof that a thoroughly modern way of life can exist in a nonwestern society.
Others argue that Japan has become distinctly more western as a result of its
The theory has also been criticised empirically, as modernization theorists ignore
external sources of change in societies. The binary between traditional and modern is
unhelpful, as the two are linked and often interdependent, and 'modernization' does not
come as a whole.

Dependency theory
Dependency theory is the notion that resources flow from a "periphery" of poor
and underdeveloped states to a "core" of wealthy states, enriching the latter at the
expense of the former. It is a central contention of dependency theory that poor states
are impoverished and rich ones enriched by the way poor states are integrated into the
"world system".

summarized version of dependency theory as follows:

there is a financial and technological penetration by the developed capitalist

centers of the countries of the periphery and semi-periphery;

this produces an unbalanced economic structure both within the peripheral

societies and between them and the centers;

this leads to limitations on self-sustained growth in the periphery;

this favors the appearance of specific patterns of class relations;

these require modifications in the role of the state to guarantee both the
functioning of the economy and the political articulation of a society, which contains,
within itself, foci of inarticulateness and structural imbalance


Dependency theory has been criticized by free-market economists

Lack of competition. By subsidizing in-country industries and preventing outside

imports, these companies may have less incentive to improve their products, to try to
become more efficient in their processes, to please customers, or to research new

Sustainability. Industries reliant on government support may not be sustainable

for very long, particularly in poorer countries and countries which largely depend on
foreign aid from more developed countries.

Domestic opportunity costs. Subsidies on domestic industries come out of state

coffers and therefore represent money not spent in other ways, like development of
domestic infrastructure, seed capital or need-based social welfare programs. At the
same time, the higher prices caused by tariffs and restrictions on imports require the
people either to forgo these goods altogether or buy them at higher prices, forgoing
other goods

Sustainable Development
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present reference
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
It contains within it two key concepts:
*the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the worlds
poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and
*the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social
organisation on the environments ability to meet present and future
needs (cf Science Age 1987: 30).

In order to understand the meaning of the definition, let us understand the core issues
addressed in the above definition. First is the issue of economic growth. The economic
growth is not only considered essential for poverty reduction but also for meeting human
needs and aspirations for better life. Second is the issue of limitations of the
environments ability to meet the needs of the present and future generations. Due to the
pressures generated by growing societal needs, societies are using modern
technologies for extracting and utilising natural resources, which are limited. If we
continue to exploit existing limited natural resources, future generations will not be able
to meet their own needs. Thus, environments ability to meet present and future
generations needs has certain limits. This realisation is clearly reflected in the definition.
Thus, the concept of sustainable development is based on an integrated view of
development and environment; it recommends pursuance of development strategies in
order to maximise economic growth from a given ecological milieu on the one hand, and
to minimise the risks and hazards to the environment on the other; for being able to meet
the needs and aspirations of the present generation without compromising the ability to
meet those of the future generations

Millennium Development Goals (MDGS)

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were the eight international

development goals for the year 2015 that had been established following the Millennium
Summit of the United Nations in 2000, following the adoption of the United Nations
Millennium Declaration. All 189 United Nations member states at that time, and at least
22 international organizations, committed to help achieve the following Millennium
Development Goals by 2015:

1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

2. To achieve universal primary education

3. To promote gender equality and empower women

4. To reduce child mortality

5. To improve maternal health

6. To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

7. To ensure environmental sustainability

8. To develop a global partnership for development

Each goal had specific targets, and dates for achieving those targets. The goals were
drafted because these organizations wanted to do two things: First, they wanted to help
poor people become self-sufficient and be able to contribute to their society. Second,
they wanted to be able to measure how much progress has been made in reducing
poverty in the world and in helping poor countries develop.