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  • Author or Editor: Nick Sage x
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This chapter offers a critical overview of the main theoretical perspectives on development, from early theories of ‘modernisation’ to later diametrically opposed theories of ‘dependency’, ‘world systems’, and ‘post-development. Variations of some of these theoretical perspectives, such as ‘dependent capitalist development’ are also reviewed. In addition, the chapter explores the later revival of some of the earlier theories, and the emergence of new concepts that have found their way into development theory such as ‘sustainable development’, ‘human development’ and ‘popular development’. The chapter concludes by pointing out that there has been a move towards more open and flexible approaches to understanding development during the 21st century. This is notably reflected in the concept of ‘reflexive development’ and the theoretical approach surrounding it. As a result, there is now greater awareness of the need to address the issues of development not only in the Global South but also in the Global North.

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Chapter 5 addresses the rise of globalisation and its significance for development. After carefully examining the concept of ‘globalisation’ and its key features, the chapter moves on to consider the various perspectives on globalisation that have emerged, from the hyperglobalist to the internationalist and transformationalist approaches. The impact of globalisation on the world is discussed in relation to the idea of ‘a shrinking world’ and the need to recognise the multidimensional and multidirectional nature of globalisation and its impact on development and the Global South. This involves the examination of three essential dimensions of globalisation: techno-economic, socio-political, and cultural-civilisational. In exploring these, specific areas such as trade, travel and tourism are introduced into the discussion. The chapter concludes by considering whether globalisation is good or bad for development, and also makes reference to the impact of the Coronavirus on globalisation in the third decade of the 21st century.

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This chapter explores three key interrelated concerns in many developing countries; namely, population growth, food insecurity and hunger, and how these are also connected to other significant issues including conflicts and wars, local and global inequalities, and environmental predicaments such as climate change. The data on the extent of food insecurity in different parts of the developing world is examined along with the effects on health and wellbeing. The relationship of food insecurity and hunger to poverty and population growth is analysed with regard to different regions of the Global South. Hunger and undernutrition are also shown to be directly linked to inequalities within countries, including gender disparities, and inequities at a global level where an unequal balance of power has contributed to poverty, food insecurity and hunger in many regions of the developing world. The chapter concludes by noting that while natural disasters can also have devastating effects, causing harsh famines, national and global inequalities have an extremely significant impact on which sections of the population are most severely affected.

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Chapter 7 considers the relationship of poverty and inequality to development. It begins by looking at how poverty has been measured globally, for example using the International Poverty Line (IPL) devised by the World Bank. The chapter goes on to question the extent to which monetary indicators of poverty such as the IPL accurately define and measure poverty levels, and proceeds to outline and discuss alternatives such as the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). Drawing on a number of further indicators of poverty, the question is raised as to whether poverty is more about inequality than insufficient resources within countries. Inequalities of income and wealth, and inequalities of assets, such as land, housing and ‘human capital’, are examined, together with spatial inequalities within and between countries. The role of politics in relation to inequality is also given consideration as the chapter goes on to conclude that there is growing recognition of the connections between poverty and inequality, and the need to address inequality in its various forms at national, regional and global levels by moving it to the forefront of development agendas.

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Health and education are closely-related crucial components of development, as recognised by the UNDP’s definition of human development. The chapter explores various indicators of health and education and the extent to which progress is being made in developing countries. Evidence is presented showing both progression and regression in relation to health and education and their broader role in advancing social and economic development. Different theoretical perspectives on health and development, including modernisation and dependency theory, are show to have contrasting interpretations of whether progress is being made in the Global South in relation to both communicable and non-communicable diseases. The role played by global health governance is also introduced into the discussion. The chapter outlines the key connections between health and education, and goes on to explore the significant role that education plays in relation to overall development, and the impact that globalisation has on the growth of educational opportunities in the developing world.

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In looking to the future of development, this chapter considers three areas that have become more prominent in development thinking in recent times, partly as a result of increasing globalisation and growing awareness of issues that affect the world as a whole. The advance of digital technology and moves towards a green environment and gender equality, are shown to be key areas that need to be addressed in order to advance development across the world. The chapter goes on to show that these three areas of development are also closely interconnected in ways that have not been sufficiently recognised in the past, but need to be as we look to the future. The chapter concludes by pointing out that international development requires the world to find a universally agreed way forward to find solutions that not only address issues in the developing countries of the world, but also global issues such as climate change, in order to create a viable route to sustainable development in the 21st century.

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The conclusion highlights the fact that the preceding chapters demonstrate the many different topics associated with international development, the wide variety of contrasting perspectives on development, and the significant changes over time in the key issues that need to be addressed. The very concept of development and theoretical approaches have also evolved over time, leading to the emergence of new strategies for the best way forward. The conclusion goes on to emphasise the extent to which we are now living in a rapidly changing world of globalisation which has considerable implications for development. In looking to the future, the concept of ‘sustainable development’ is emphasised, and the crucial need to address inequality in its various forms. To portray what needs to be done in moving forward in a positive fashion, the chapter ends by drawing on the vision offered by the Happy Planet Index.

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The book is designed to address the concept, theory and practice of international development in all its different dimensions. It explores the key areas of international development and the changes that have taken place since the start of the development era in the middle of the 20th century through to the third decade of the 21st century. This transformative era has seen the rise of new concepts and theories in a period also marked by the rise of globalisation and growing concerns about the global environment and the possibility of sustainable development. The first part of the book provides an overview of the challenge of development, different ways of mapping and measuring progress, competing theoretical perspectives, and the dilemmas of development associated with globalisation. Part two of the book reviews the specific development challenges that impact on many different areas, including population, food and famine, poverty and inequality, health and education. The discussion of these areas of social and human development demonstrates their interconnectedness, and provides insights into where the developing world may be heading. In looking to the future, the very strong connections between new digital technologies, a green environment and gender equality, are given close attention, before moving on to consider whether and how international development can be made sustainable.

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The book is designed to address the concept, theory and practice of international development in all its different dimensions. It explores the key areas of international development and the changes that have taken place since the start of the development era in the middle of the 20th century through to the third decade of the 21st century. This transformative era has seen the rise of new concepts and theories in a period also marked by the rise of globalisation and growing concerns about the global environment and the possibility of sustainable development. The first part of the book provides an overview of the challenge of development, different ways of mapping and measuring progress, competing theoretical perspectives, and the dilemmas of development associated with globalisation. Part two of the book reviews the specific development challenges that impact on many different areas, including population, food and famine, poverty and inequality, health and education. The discussion of these areas of social and human development demonstrates their interconnectedness, and provides insights into where the developing world may be heading. In looking to the future, the very strong connections between new digital technologies, a green environment and gender equality, are given close attention, before moving on to consider whether and how international development can be made sustainable.

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International development is a vibrant, interdisciplinary area of the social sciences. This Short Guide offers a uniquely succinct and balanced account of this politically charged subject. It distils both the classic and newer debates together in a clear framework and illustrates them with contemporary examples.

Designed to introduce a wide readership to international development, the book:

  • considers how far the field has been reconfigured over time and to what extent it is likely to change in the future;

  • reviews contemporary topics including tourism, migration and digital technologies;

  • includes distinctive international case studies and examples.

By providing a succinct evaluation of competing approaches to, and perspectives on, the idea and practice of international development, this book offers students across the social sciences a distinct and invaluable introduction to the field.

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