In this invaluable introduction to the major post-Second World War theories of Third World development, Peter Preston takes as his focus the strategies used to analyse change in the Third World and examines the ways in which different conceptions of the nature of change have led to different lines of policy advice. In doing so, the author demonstrates how the various contemporary approaches to development draw upon strategies of enquiry which are lodged deep within the intellectual traditions of the modern world. The author's approach is based on the premise that the reader can only fully grasp the live issues and debates surrounding development through an understanding of the linkages with the broader frameworks of social theory.
This book offers an excellent overview and critical assessment of the meaning and theories of development. The theories--including mainstream economic and sociological theories, Marxist and neomarxist, poststructuralist, and theories of development--are well explained, referenced, and carefully examined. In the process, the author make clear that 'development' is far more than a technical challenge; it requires a clear understanding of social dynamics (including those shaped by spatially linked accumulation processes) as well as socially defined and motivated criteria for change. In fact, one of the strengths of this book is the authors' willingness to present and use their own criteria for development as a reference point for examining other theories and visions. It will be a very useful addition to any class on economic development.
True to its title, it takes the reader through economic, sociological, marxist, post-ist, and critical realist theories. It is thorough and well referenced. Although it gives intellectual space for theories from a wide range of persuasions, it is a partisan book--and all the better for that. A good read for everyone, and an eminently recommendable text for undergraduate and graduate-level courses on development and social change. Development, one of the founding beliefs of the modern world, is in desperate need of reinvention. What better way to do this than through a sweeping and constructive review of conventional and critical theories alike. Shifting their analytical gaze from modernization theory to Marxism, from critiques of post-Enlightment thought to poststructuralism, postcolonialism, and postdevelopmentalism, lay the basis for 'another development.'
Their convincing and eloquent approach reweaves the longstanding traditions of critical modernity and socialism and renews the call for the betterment of the human condition. This book's challenge must be taken seriously by all those interested in the fate of what until now has been known as the third world. This book does exactly that, questioning all sociological, economic, neo-Marxist, poststructuralist, and radical democratic approaches, as well as an array of development models including modernization, dependency, and neoliberalism. An excellent resource for undergraduate and graduate programs in development economics; highly recommended for academic, research, and professional collections.
Peter Preston is presently Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and has taught at the National University of Singapore, and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He has held numerous research fellowships, most recently a Canon Research Fellowship at the Institute of Comparative Culture, Sophia University, Japan.