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Chapter 9

SOC101Y1 - New Society - Sixth Edition - Chapter 9 Notes

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Adam Green

SOCIOLOGY REVIEW CHAPTER 9: DEVELOPMENT AND UNDERDEVELOPMENT INTRODUCTION:  It was believed that poor countries are poor because of the heat, humidity, and climate in those states, which is untrue because civilizations like the Mayans constructed a series of cities that boasted ornate architecture, elaborate irrigation infrastructure, and so on  Climate is not completely insignificant though; regions with year-round permafrost or deserts do not allow dense human settlement and the agriculture it depends on, let alone the accumulation of wealth  Desert kingdoms like Dubai show that oil wealth can help spur impressive development but some oil-rich countries like Nigeria have failed to mobilize their wealth to realize development goals WHAT IS DEVELOPMENT?  The idea of development dates from the 18 century , when scholars in Scotland and France formulated the idea of progress  It was not until after WWII that the idea grew into a series of projects that became part of state policy and the policy of some non-state organizations  After WWII, development came increasingly to mean a process that generated economic growth, industrialization, and modernization in regions and countries perceived to be poor, traditional, and undeveloped  More recently, development has had a broader and more complex meaning, incorporating notions such as progress for women, empowerment of the underprivileged, and environmental sustainability  There are two factors that motivated interest in development after WWII: 1. Cold War  Broke out between the developed capitalist countries led by USA and the communist countries led by the Soviet Union  Involved intense competition between the two sides to amass power by gaining influence and control over less developed countries 2. Business in the West  Particularly USA  Interested in new markets outside their traditional spheres of operation  Development and the study of development have served to support CAPITALISM (economic system based on competitive enterprises seeking to maximize profits using wage labour)  Analysts deny that genuine development can occur within the confines of capitalism WHY SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT DEVELOPMENT?  There are two perspectives: 1. Morality and social justice  Some consider it a matter of social justice that the world’s desperately poor be lifted out of a life of illiteracy, disease, and hopelessness 2. Self-interest and the need for security  Others are concerned with the practical implications of having so many people in the world with so little to sustain them  Our neighbours’ poverty would have unpleasant implications for us  We would have to pay higher taxes to bolster police forces to maintain order  We would come to realize that our security cannot be divorced from the living conditions of our neighbours  This model establishes that the neighbourhood economy is maintained by a system of power relations backed up by disproportionate wealth and our willingness to exercise violence when all else fails EARLY THEORIES OF DEVELOPMENT: 1) DEVELOPMENT IN STAGES th - Social sciences emerged in the 19 century in the context of lively debate in the biological sciences around theories of evolution propounded by Darwin and others - Concerned evolution - Argued that human societies were like biological organisms whom are susceptible to pathologies and diseases - Idea was influential in the 1960s - W.W Rostow argued that societal development follows stages of development  In the beginning, a society might be traditional, undifferentiated, and undeveloped  When it comes into contact with a developed society, science and technology spread and the underdeveloped society enters a stage of “takeoff”  Takeoff occurs when and if an increase in market transactions, manufacturing, and trade takes place  The society moves along the path to development the more quickly barriers to the spread of market relations are removed  The final stage is represented by modern American capitalism 2) MODERNIZATION THEORY - Popular approach in the 1960s - Emphasizes the importance of values and norms as drivers of development (Example: people who enjoy a high need for achievement are more likely to become successful) - Emphasized the importance of other values in the development process such as the need for savings, investment, innovation, education, high achievement, self-control in having children, and so on - Assumed that most of the responsibility for economic backwardness lies with the societies of the Global South - Argued that development happens when citizens of the poor countries adopt virtues of the developed North DEPENDENCY THEORY: DEFINITION:  = an explanation of uneven global development that stresses the exploitative relationships between Europe and the global south, to the detriment of the south  Sharply challenged the notion that lack of development is due to the deficiencies of the less developed  Takes a holistic view (each part is shaped by and helps to shape global reality) and attends to the history and structure of relations between countries  Establishes that the nature of the relationship between metropolitan powers and satellite regions that blocked economic progress in the global south  Evidence contradicts the notion that global south countries existed in an underdeveloped state (Example: from China through the Middle East and the Mediterranean to Central and South America, great civilizations rose and fell)  Africans had developed a great deal on their own before Europe began asserting its dominance over the continent  Initial contact between Europe and the south took place around 1500  Before Europeans could exploit the south for its riches, they had to conquer the existing civilizations  Superior technology like guns and disease borne by Europeans helped to secure conquest  Then they established a feudalistic landholding system based on hierarchical relationships imported from Europe THE SLAVE TRADE:  The African slave trade created deep-seated ethnic animosities  Forced labour had existed for centuries but the trans-Atlantic slave trade initiated by Europeans began after 1500  The Portuguese started the slave trade at Congo, taking advantage of the custom of the local African chiefs to buy household slaves  They began trading European merchandise for human lives, shipping them to work in Portuguese colonies like Brazil where they produced sugar and coffee  Slavery soon became a major disruptive force in West Africa  The slave trade accelerated when Dutch merchant traders introduced slavery in the Caribbean, Britain followed in Jamaica, and Spain followed in Cuba  Later, American rice and cotton plantations stimulated demand for more slaves  Societies in Africa were ruined and worsened when in the 19 century, England, Belgium, France, and Germany carved up much of its resource wealth; they established boundaries that ignored ethnic spheres of influence and increased ethnic antagonism and warfare  The slave economies flourished; slavery enabled capital to accumulate that would later be used to spur European development  Dependency theory shows how social and economic structures established by European colonizing powers since 1500 distorted local societies for the benefit of European traders and merchants, and later blocked emergence of industrial capitalism in the global south  The historical development of the capitalist system generated underdevelopment  What remains unclear is whether European countries or classes were responsible for underdevelopment CAUSES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT:  During the 1970s, debates on development and underdevelopment focused on the mechanisms the metropolitan used to exploit the south  Some argue that in recent times, it was through TERMS OF TRADE; prices of agricultural exports from the south decline over time to prices of industrial goods made in the developed countries and imported by the poor countries  R. Brenner uses a Marxist approach that emphasized class relationships; he argued that dependency theory ought to focus on exploitation occurring at the level of class relationships  By analyzing the nature of the class interests that shape underdevelopment and the types of class conflict it engenders, one can gain a fuller and more precise understanding of the process of underdevelopment  Brenner argued that the struggle among classes to achieve dominance is the prime mover of social change  Identifiable classes in metropolitan countries like merchants, traders, shippers, and monarchies orchestrated the plunder of the south  Mechanisms of underdevelopment changed Western Europe began to industrialize under the direction of a new class of industrial capitalists  The south is not homogeneous; different class alliances came to control the states of the south with different consequences for the patterned of underdevelopment that followed (Example: Brazil and Argentina was developed under the control of foreign capitalist which allowed a middle and working class to emerge, unlike Honduras where the middle class failed to develop and their economy was based on their exports)  In the 1980s and 90s, researchers focused increasingly on the role of class structures, class alliances, and state policies to understand the processes of development and underdevelopment  Analysts found that estate agriculture was more of an impediment to development than were agrarian structures dominated by small family farms because: 1. Estate owners tended to compensate their workers with small plots of land rather than money wages which restricted their purchasing power 2. Estate owners had little incentive to employ advanced agricultural machinery which limited local market 3. Estate owners exercised political power which made it difficult for local industry to develop GEOGRAPHY AND BIOLOGICAL THEORY:  J. Diamond examined early human history to understand why wealth and power are distributed as they now are  Argues that history followed different courses for different people because of differences among people’s environments  He distinguished between proximate and ultimate causes of development; the development of firearms, natives’ lack of resistance to European diseases, and modern metallurgy were proximate causes which set the stage for the emergence of commercial, administrative, military, and
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