As wealthy countries focus more attention on the ravages of poverty and maldistribution of the world’s resources, the rationales for what is or is not done in the name of “development” have become more elaborate and abstract. And as the literature has proliferated, communication among those who approach development from different perspectives, disciplines, and professions has become more strained. In this innovative text, Jan Black argues that what is missing is “appropriate theory” that can help place the findings of social scientists and seasoned development practitioners at the service of those who would promote a more equitable and empowering approach to development. In the first section, the author presents the differing and even contradictory definitions of development and the various explanatory models and means of measurement associated with them. This is followed by an analysis of the evolution of development strategies and programs both of the First World—donor countries and organizations—and of Third World leaders, movements, and regional organizations. The author highlights key issues in the development debate of the 1990s, including ecology, refugees, debt, the informal sector, and gender roles. In a final section, she addresses the process of development and illustrates, through a number of vignettes and case studies, the sometimes illusory links between motives and consequences. The second edition includes more paradoxes and case studies and increased coverage of refugees and indigenous peoples. More information on the new states in post-Soviet East and Central Europe is also incorporated. At a time when theoreticians and practitioners appear to occupy different worlds and speak different languages, and when a large number of developing countries seem to be falling into an irreversible cycle of debt and dependency, this book is particularly welcome and compelling.
Jan Knippers Black is a professor in the Graduate School of International Policy Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. She has authored or edited and co-authored a dozen books, including Development in Theory and Practice: Paradigms and Paradoxes, Second Edition (Westview Press, 1999).
“This valuable contribution to the literature on development is highly recommended.”
“Concise, clearly organized, and well written.… The insights and values pervading this book need to be much more widely shared.”
— Studies in Comparative International Development
“A superb text. The line of argument is clear and logically developed, inviting the reader to ‘lateral thinking’ and clear comparison. Most important, however, is the successful attempt to separate development facts and practices from abstract idealization and disguised propaganda.”
— Jorge Nef, University of Guelph, Ontario
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