Sociological Theories Of Development

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Sociological development is associated with the budding concern for political and economic development of the post-colonial world (McMichael, 2008). The social theories of development provide an analysis to societies (usually third world countries) which are undergoing a delayed transition to capitalist industrialisation (McMichael, 2008). This essay will show that there are diverse ways of conceptualising development, which has resulted to contrasting understandings of the role that trade and international relations play in development. Specifically, the social theories that will be discussed and contrasted are the modernisation theory and the dependency theory (Isbister, 2006). Both of these social theories conceptualise development differently…show more content…
This theory held that underdeveloped countries would eventually catch up to the developed countries (Isbister, 2006). The mere catching up is called a linear direction of development (McMichael, 2008). The theorists of modernisation attempt to understand the roots of poverty, social, economic and political development usually focused in the deficiencies of poorer countries (Isbister, 2006). Theorists such as Rostow, think of today’s third world as living chiefly traditional, which seems to be primitive and complex to change. The task then of underdeveloped countries is to transform themselves from tradition to modernity with the aid of capitalist countries (Isbister, 2006). Theorists like Rostow therefore, conceptualise development as undergoing a series of stages, which all countries should achieve on their voyage to a better standard of living (Isbister, 2006). Rostow thinks of these stages as the taking off of an airplane until it reaches a satisfactory…show more content…
Dependency theorists are perceived as socialist and revolutionary compared to modernisation theorists being liberal and procapitalist (Isbister, 2006). Dependency theory stresses that economic development in the advanced capitalist countries essentially generated third world poverty (Isbister, 2006). This is in contrast to the modernisation theory, which implied that the capitalist countries in fact aided the development of third world countries. Dependency theorists say that third world countries have been changed for the worse as poverty did not happen accidentally but rather, the capitalist countries moulded third poverty rendering it incapable of having a steady development (Isbister, 2006). Dependency theory postulates that capitalism has been closely immersed for centuries in which has set up the source of deterioration in third world countries (Isbister, 2006). This is unlike the modernisation theory as they postulate that capitalism was an innovative force that was accountable for the growth of both developed and developing countries (Isbister, 2006). Moreover, dependency theorists such as Frank, see the capitalist countries as a central barrier to the security of the poor. However, modernisation theorists see capitalist countries as being the redemption of the poor (Isbister, 2006). Therefore, dependency theorists conceptualise development

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