The Social Context of Development Cooperation

Publication Year : 1989

Development as a process launched within a society, by direct state and extra state agencies, in order to institute planned change within that society, and bring about a more equitable distribution of perceived facilities, has become one of the key concerns of governments of most Third World countries. This process has gained momentum within the context of the modern nation-states that emerged in the post colonial era. Experts engaged in the research which eventually leads to the planning and implementation of development schemes, invariably agree that a development scheme is likely to succeed if it answers the needs of a given society at a particular level of socio-economic development. Not all development schemes however, are geared towards catering to the needs of the societies they address. Although the pertinence of local institutions and_ cultures are now recognized as inalienable to the impact planned change is to have, the motivation to take local socio-economic conditions into account is invariably with the view of devising strategies that may ensure success of the programme intended, rather than the desire to explore existing potentials for resolving perceived inadequacies, on the basis of existing forms of social existence. Development agencies furthermore, inevitably have their particular thrust. The intervention of an agency in a society hence seeks to realize the potentials of that thrust, rather than meeting the priorities of the society in question for any meaningful effects of planned change. The specific fields into which the thrust of development is compartmentalized, has led to a dichotomy in development research between what is termed as social as opposed to economic development. Newman and Thomson (1989) have identified at least four ways of treating the relationship between economic growth and social development:

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