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Underdevelopment

  • By: Heather R. Putnam
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Underdevelopment refers to not only a theory but also an economic process and a condition described by radical views of development. The theory is rooted in structuralist Marxist ideas and is associated with the dependency school of development, which is critical of North-South relations. This entry first gives a description of underdevelopment. It then traces the historical evolution of thinking concerning radical underdevelopment theory, highlighting important thinkers, and offering descriptions of the various iterations of theories of underdevelopment. Finally, important critiques of underdevelopment and the dependency school are discussed, concluding with the state of ideas of underdevelopment today.

The dependency school of thought is commonly understood to be a response to the failure of modernization theories of development in the 1950s and 1960s, notably in Latin ...

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