Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

The use of resources to relieve poverty and raise living standards; the means by which a traditional, low-technology society is changed into a modern, high-technology society, with a corresponding increase in incomes. This can be done through mechanization, improvements in infrastructure and financial systems, and the intensification of agriculture. This definition is based on the more obvious distinctions in living standards between developed and less developed countries. Narrowly economic definitions of development have been criticized, and many believe that true development includes social justice; ‘a focus on “global social justice” could provide a framework to think interesting and possibly dangerous thoughts about how to take the international development agenda beyond the relatively instrumental approach of the Millenium Development Goals’ (Maxwell (2008) ODI Opinion).

Smith (2002) Area 34 argues against development as ‘some neutral concept of progress’; Potter (2001) Area 33 argues that development is a non-linear process, and ‘one should not mimic the experience of “developed” countries’. ‘For many local communities, the maintenance of social and cultural practices is central to participatory development and just as important as income gains and poverty reduction’ (Connell (2007) Sing. J. Trop. Geog. 28, 2). ‘As indigenous movement platforms and concepts are increasingly institutionalised…their demands for culturally appropriate government and development are in practice implemented as governmentally and developmentally appropriate culture’ (Andolina et al. (2005) Pol. Geog. 24, 6). O'Reilly (2007) AAAG97, 3 observes that women's participation in development is a dialogic process that includes negotiating how women fieldworkers will participate within their own organizations; see also Sharpe et al. (2003) TIBG28, 3. Development indicators are used by the World Bank. These indices of development are simply concerned with statistics and do not indicate social structures and patterns of behaviour; there is no definitive definition of what development should be for each society, and no blueprint for how to achieve it.


interprets culture and indigenous identity in ways that make it compatible with neoliberal social policy, but potentially restrict indigenous agency (Laurie et al. (2005) Antipode 37, 3).

http://www.worldbank.org/data/ World Bank development indicators.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.