2 Development context and practice
The course on which this section is based, TU871 Development: context and practice, examines contemporary debates and the practice of ‘development’ in the best traditions of interdisciplinary study. It draws on economics, geography, political science, technology, sociology, anthropology and international relations to present a holistic and balanced view. This section may well question some of the views you hold about the world and its peoples and the challenges facing us in this new millennium. It will demonstrate that ‘development’ is a concept that has resonance not only in the shanty towns of South America and civil-war ravaged areas of sub-Saharan Africa, but also in the urban centres of western Europe. Issues of development affect every area of the world and impact on all our lives.
The section also discusses development as a phenomenon with a pedigree stretching back over 200 years, rather than the period since the Second World War and the beginnings of decolonisation as is generally conceived. This is in keeping with the perspective that development is not simply something that is done to the developing world, but has global significance and ramifications. Thus, it is fundamentally attempting to engage with the reframing of ‘development’ in the context of the beginning of the 21st century. In doing so, it is much more focused on the forms and degrees of development interventions than grand theories of social transformation.
In meeting this brief, the original course is divided into two equal parts. The first part addresses the context of development. Here we address the key concepts, issues and debates that are at the core of development studies. If you are already working in the development field, these will be familiar. If not, they will be new and challenging. We hope to deepen your conceptual understanding of these issues by encouraging you to reflect on what you already know and to build on this. The second part of the course explores the practice of development.