Developing World

James A. Tyner

in Geography

ISBN: 9780199874002
Published online February 2013 | | DOI:
Developing World

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  • Earth Sciences and Geography
  • Human Geography


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Places and regions throughout the world exhibit vast differences in levels of social, political, and economic characteristics. Some places, for example, are more impoverished than others. Accordingly, scholars and politicians have forwarded a number of terms to capture the spatial inequalities evidenced across the Earth’s surface. The “developing world” has been proposed and used in reference to those regions of the world that are held to be lesser developed with respect to urbanization and industrialization. The root term “develop” is itself problematic, in that it suggests related terms such as “progress” or “improvement.” Consequently, the phrase “developing world” indicates a region that falls short of certain benchmarks of progress or development. In other words, “developing world” is defined as lacking in qualities that are presumed to be better or more advanced. This is seen especially in the dualistic terms that have been proposed: “developed” versus “developing” or “less developed,” “core” versus “periphery,” and “rich” versus “poor.” Conventional accounts of the developing world focus on a suite of structural and institutional conditions, including a legacy of (European) colonialism and the continued dependence on markets and products of the “advanced” industrial countries. In turn, studies often address key social, economic, and political measures: high rates of population growth, high rates of fertility and mortality, high levels of unemployment and underemployment, and high levels of poverty. Studies have also focused on issues of environmental exploitation and degradation, armed conflict and proxy wars, and political instability. Many of these studies emphasize the complexity and interconnectivity of these issues and conditions. Especially notable since the 1970s is the emergence of alternative accounts that address gender and age inequalities.

Article.  9451 words. 

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography ; Human Geography

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