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Development Theory

  • By: James T. Murphy
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Development theories generally fall into one of two approaches. First, there are theories that provide explanations of the meanings, trajectories, and characteristics of socioeconomic progress and put forth policy frameworks to aid in the design of social and economic interventions to aid poor communities, regions, and less industrialized (i.e., developing) economies. Second, there are theories that critique mainstream ideas about development with the goal of demonstrating how economic and political powers/elites exploit the poor, working classes, and/or once-colonized peoples through ideologies and practices of development that ignore the real needs, voices, and knowledge of these individuals and their communities. In both cases, the primary focus is on communities and economies that were once colonized by European, American, or Asian powers (i.e., the developing world or ...

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