An analytical and historical survey of theories of development in the period 1945-1975
This study concerns itself with pursuing the remarks made by Hilal ("Sociology and Underdevelopment", Durham mimeo 1970 ppl-3) to the effect that the 'discovery' of the Third World was (is) as significant for present day social-theorizing as was that l9th century discovery of industrializzation made by the 'founding fathers' of sociology and the classical political economists. The elucidation of this claim has been effected by the preparation of a critical history of the career of 'development studies' in the post war period, 1945-75. Three schools' have been identified, labelled 'positivist'. 'radicals' and 'marxists', by asking how the linked matters 'Of disciplinary independence and theoretical autonomy have been regarded by the practitioners themselves. Briefly, it is argued that: (l) the earliest efforts regarded development as a technical matter of the appropriate application of the eetablished procedures of economics , where economics was taken as a 'positive science'; (2) the efforts characteristic of the middle period adopted varieties of 'sociologized' economics and lodged claims for the independence and theoretical novelty of 'development-studies'; (3) the marxists, the most recent identifiable grouping, deny the independence and novelty of 'development-studies' and subsume its questions and concerns within a wider historico-economic schema which revolves around the idea of a 'world capitalist system' The career of 'development-studies' is seen as an emergent series whereby the self-conception of the practitioners broadens such that a narrowly-technical engagement gives way to a richer and increasingly subtle exercise in social theorizing. The contributions of each school have been considered by means of sociology of knowledge-informed analyses of exemplars. The study has looked at the occasions for theorizing, at the intellectual recources invoked, and has been interested in displaying their characteristic 'argument forms'. This 'formal' aspect has provided the means whereby the study as a whole has been both integrated as a text and related to recent debate as to the proper nature of social-theorizing. Social-theorizing is taken to be concerned with, in the prime case, the construction of ideological(where this term is used non-pejoratively) schemas serving to order and legitimate action in the world; and, thereafter, with the criticism and comparative ranking of such schemas. We conclude by insisting upon the fundamental practicality of social theoretic engagement and suggest that theorists must pay attention to what it makes sense for them to say given their particular circumstances and problem situations.