Christopher LaMonica

in International Relations

ISBN: 9780199743292
Published online August 2013 | | DOI:

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When the term “development” first became popular in the field of international relations, in the 1950s, there was less critical thinking on the subject. Initial proponents of development ranged from conservative “modernization theorists” to the more progressive supporters of democratic development. For a time, both conservatives and progressives were united in their optimism for development in Third World states (a term coined during the Cold War). In fact, many scholars of the subject initially used the terms “progress,” “modernization,” and “development” interchangeably. Importantly, early scholarship was almost completely dominated by Western state scholars; a decidedly less enthusiastic response to the Western-state-led project of development soon emerged in the form of postcolonial literature and scholarship. Using the ideas of Marx, Lenin, and others, several critical theories of development emerged, notably from Latin American scholars, under the rubric of “dependency.” Today, although the modernization versus dependency rift does still exist, other forms of development study have emerged to include, notably, sustainable development, human development, grassroots development, and green development. Critical theorists now speak of a postdevelopment era, while others now link matters of security to development in what is termed a “development-security nexus.” What seems clear today is that the consumer-oriented forms of twentieth-century industrial development were so remarkable that they went largely unquestioned, at least among the powerful states of the world. As such, “development” became a primary objective and hope for a growing number throughout the world, mostly under Western state tutelage. Even within the former Soviet bloc and other Marxist-inspired states, industrialization was generally considered a worthwhile development objective. In the twenty-first century, however, growing concerns over sustainability and global environmental change have caused many development theorists and practitioners to reconsider their traditional development paradigms.

Article.  9951 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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