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Sociology   >   Theories of Global Development

Development: A Contested Concept

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Theories of Global Development

In this course, Professor Katie Willis (Royal Holloway, University of London) explores theories of global development. In the first lecture, we look at development as a contested concept, and at some of the ways it has been defined and measured. In the second lecture, we consider modernisation theories and their development since the Cold War. In the third lecture, we look at their relationship to neoliberalism. Next, we think about dependency and world systems approaches to explaining different levels of development across the world. In the fifth lecture, we look at sustainable development and the incorporation of environmental issues into development theory and practice. In the sixth and final lecture, we turn to post-development theory and the critique of development as a concept.

Development: A Contested Concept

In this lecture, we think about contesting interpretations of development as a concept, focusing in particular on: (i) two of the most common ways of measuring development - the GNI (Gross National Income) per capita, which is solely economic in nature, and the HDI (Human Development Index), which includes social indicators; (ii) the roles of normative value judgements and power relations in shaping how development is defined and put into practice; (iii) the terminology we use to classify levels of development, such as First and Third World, and Global North and Global South.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Willis, K. (2021, August 23). Theories of Global Development - Development: A Contested Concept [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Willis, K. "Theories of Global Development – Development: A Contested Concept." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Aug 2021,

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Prof. Katie Willis

Royal Holloway, London