The Global South: Politics, Policy & Development
POLS 3560 – Fall/Winter 2011/2012 – Ananya Mukherjee-Reed
Lecture 3 – Towards a Framework for Analysis: Mainstream versus Critical
Theory – Oct 4
- ‘A framework is a system of ideas or conceptual structures that help us see the
social world, understand it, explain it, and change it. A framework guides our
thinking, research, and action. It provides us with a systematic way of examining
social issues and providing recommendations for change.’
- ‘A framework consists of basic assumptions about the nature of the social world
and how it works and about the nature of people and how they act. For example,
some people assume that society is basically harmonious and that harmony
results from a set of shared values. Others assume that society is in conflict and
that conflict is rooted in class, race and gender struggles over power and access
to and control over resources.’
Why are there so many frameworks?
- Historical change (relationship between theory and history).
- Differences in social context.
- Different lived experiences.
- Different agendas of change, different problems.
Frameworks: Mainstream and Critical
- ‘Problem solving theory takes the world as it finds it, with the prevailing social
and power relationships and the institutions into which they are organized, as the
given framework for action. The general aim of problem solving is to make these
relationships and institutions work smoothly.’
- Stands apart from the prevailing order of the world and asks how that order came
about. Critical theory does not take institutions and social power relations for
granted but calls them into question by concerning itself with their origins and
how and whether they might be in the process of changing.
- Structures; structure and agency.
- State format