THE NOTION OF third-worldism is intimately linked to the term third world. According to Nigel Harris (1990), the third world first came to the fore in the mid-1950s, following the rapid decolonization process that began in the aftermath of World War II. The term itself was coined in 1952 by the French intellectual Alfred Sauvy and became institutionalized during the 1955 Bandung, Indonesia, conference, which brought together this group of newly decolonized countries to discuss their role in international politics.

Beyond the mere descriptive element in the label that referred to those newly independent countries, the term third world also gave these countries a new status in international politics by virtue of the fact that they amounted to more than half of the world's population. It ...

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