The word “development” may have produced a bewildering array of labels for peole and places hat are not
considered “developed”. Morag Bell suggests that the word Third Word has lots of tragic stereotypes of
famine, poverty, drought, etc., to animate it and make it seem coherent and defined.
Labelling whole regions and spaces as “developing or “developed” reduces and overlooks the political,
economic, social and cultural diversity of the places and communities included within these gross
generalizations, simplifications an aggregations.
It is important to grasp how places and peoples are spatially and socially differentiated through development
and inequality, experiencing progress and goof change in a variety of ways
Geography and the Third World
• Labelling nations according to degree of development imposes negative uniformity.
• All too often the “developing world” has been defined as a “problem” for the Western World
that can only be resolved with the intervention of Western experts, donor, technology or
• The “three worlds” schema is very much a Cold War conceptualization of space is strongly
associated with the global, social and political conflict between capitalism and communism,
between the USA and USSR, in the second half of the twentieth century. The term posited a
first world of advanced capitalism in Europe, the USA, Australia and Japan, a second world
of the socialist bloc and a third world made up of the countries that remained when the
supposedly significant spaces of the world had been accounted for.
These mental maps or imagined geographies or inequality are often created where people
have no direct experience describing to or referring to.
Subscribers to the three world system have been criticized for the simplicity of these
divisions and their failure to recognize diversity and difference within these spaces; the world
does not consist of a series of individual national economies in the way often suggested in the
UN and World Bank reports.
there is an observation that the global capitalist actively produces the inequality and uneven
• For some, a big part of the economic development and the wealth of the rich are directly
imported from the poor countries.
key question is how long would the world economic system generate inequality
• Third world development partly represents a geographical imagining, a representation of a
better world, and a belief in the idea of correctable inequalities/injustices between nations,
states and regions and within existing global economic orders
the term Third World also gives enormous power to Western Development to shape popular
perceprdons of Africa, Asia, or Latin America
the 3 world thus is defined by and becomes intelligible through the languages and
representation of the agencies and institutions of global development
• The idea of development is still very much relevant in societies which proclaim themselves
to be “developed”
• Human Development Index also formulated a sense of development or category for bot
developing and developed socities.
under this definition, development can be depicted in a single measure, the UNDP Index.
UNDP Index combines data by country on life expectancy, literacy, income, environmental
quality and political freedom. The study can show:
1.) that every country can reach the highest level of performance set in the “West” or
or have access to the purchasing power of the upper income 2.) In the case of GNP per capita, the HDI does in many ways point to the growing
gaps between different areas of the world
• Have taken quasimystical connotation
sence that seeking to become developed has been constructed as an objective that is
unquestionably positive and beyond approach
• Developmental thinking and the sum of total ideas about development, ideology and strategy
has been caught in a Western perception of reality.
• Two prevailing thinking of development: modernization and dependency approaches.
• Modernization. Often dualistic, opposing traditional to modern lifestyles, indigenous to
westernized, as if no country of citizen could belong to both categories
started after the end of WW2 and after UN was established and conceptualizations of
development received a decisive stimulus.
conceptualization of development has become more complicated and contested when new
states are formed after the end of colonialism and in the context of the Cold War between the
USA and the USSR
observers wanted to paint a picture of modernization of underdeveloped peoples confined to
backwardness but torn between the appeal of communism and the prospect of Western
trickle down effect development (capitalist development from urbanindustrial/rural areas to
model suggests a number of stages exist in the national development of countries or cities
leading to a final stage that represents the culmination of the development process.
geographers studied the trickling down of development to underdevelopment nations and
found out that they can move briskly to modern tempo of life within few years, whilst the
state would be the key monitor and broker of development
Rostow’s (1960) theory (stage one of traditional society to stage 5 of high mass
consumption. Rostows model devaluates and misterprets the traditional societies and the
advance stage is always the western modernization.
Faulty in the philosophy:
1.) geographies and inequality development cannot be neatly summarized as a set of
2.) Failed to address importance of gender
3.) Failed to materialize among those who have been subjects of modernization
4.) Assumes the development that development can be mimicked, copied and
replicated and should try to reproduce the development of US or UK for example
5.) It implies that there is nothing before the beginning of development in a
developing country that is worth retaining or recalling but only on a series of
deficiencies, absences, weaknesses and incapacities
6.) very much based down topdown rather than bottomup
7.) Scale of modernization was also often a problem in that they assumed that big is
beautiful (large infrastructure)
8.) Sometimes the school and practitioners also depoliticize development, making
few if any references to history and culture
Like many development theory, it ended with a creed, a set of principles about what
was to be done, and heavily invested faith in the goals of mass consumption and
westernization • The Dependency school: beyond core and periphery. Challenges modernization theory. It
emerged in the 1960s and 1970s challenged this notion of positive core periphery relations,
identifying instead exploitation between satellites and metropoles.
comprised of those who are opposed to US postwar imperialism and allied in some way to
the movement of the “third worldism”
commonly associated with with Latin America but also emerged in Africa, the Carribean and
the Middle East.
Under the influence of Marx’s writings, Furtado (1964) and Santos (1974) drew attention to
the mode of incorporation of the each country into the world od capitalist system which they
view is the cause of the exploitation
mostly associated with the work of Gunder Frank
idea that the development of one area necessitates the underdevelopment of the another (eg.
Dependency on the core such as UK ad US increases the underdevelopment of satellites in
the periphery such as Latin America and Africa)
based on historical contexts and argued that for example colonialism helped to put in place
a set of dependent relations between core and periphery
peripheral satellites encouraged to produce what they did not consume and consume what
that they did not produce
believed that the obstables to development were structural, arising not from lack of will or
poor weather conditions but from entrenched pattens of global inequality and dependent
Faulty in philosophy:
1.) dependency seemed to preserve the dualistic and binary classification of the world
2.) lacked a clear statement of what development actually is
3.) Key criticisms directed at the dependistas were that theory represents a form of
economic determinism and also overlooks social and cultural variation within
developed and underdeveloped regions.
4.) The framework seemed to leave the simplistic impression of an evil genie who
organizes the system, loading the dice and making sure the same people win all the
5.) theorist seemed to be calling for a delinking from the world capitalist economy at a
time when it is undergoing further globalization and economic integration
• Postcolonial theory (Said, 1993) See GGR107 Lecture 6 for more information
• Crush (1995), points out that development is always forward looking and does not always
examine issues of historical and geographical context.
• It is particularly important to examine the significance of Empire in the making of
• In the last 3 decades of the nineteenth century, European states thus added 10M million
square miles of territory and 150M people to their areas of control or `/5 of the earth’s land
surface and 1/10 of its people
• Colonialism has been variously interpreted as an economic process of unequal exchange, as
a political process aimed at administration and subordination od indigenous peoples, and as a
cultural process of imposing European superiority.
According to dependency theorists, it was at this era that periphery was inerted and brought
into an expanding network of economic changes with the core of thw orld system. Origins of humanitarian concern concern to come to aid of distant other lay partly in
response to the practices of slavery in transatlantic world and to the expansion of colonial
settlement in the age of empire
it elicited a metropolitan sense of responsibility
colonialism development was based on concept of makeability of society and being heavily
conditioned by the dominance of evolutionary thinking
Imperialism was viewed as a cultural and economic necessity where colonies were
properties of metropolitan countries and thus needed to be developed using lates methods
and ideas. Brings about the missionary zeal to civilize and modernize (conditioned as well)
the colony in a number of ways.
After 1945 and under US President Truman, underdevelopment became the incomplete and
embryonic form of development and the gap was seen as bridgeable only through an
acceleration of growth (Rist 1997). Globally, development would have its tustees guiding
civilized nations that the capacity and the knowledge or expertise tor organize land, labor and
capital in the South on behalf of others.
There is this paternal and parental style of relationship that was established through the
imperial encounter between the coloniz