Levels of Socio-Economic Development Theory

Levels of Socio-Economic Development Theory

Levels of Socio-Economic Development Theory

Levels of Socio-Economic Development Theory

Excerpt

The aim of this book is to acquaint readers with contemporary theories of development. Most theories of development attempt to explain international disparities in income, wealth, standard of living, and economic growth. The complexity of this task has given rise to a vast assortment of competing explanations. A basic challenge for students sifting through the literature is to organize the theories in a way that illuminates the differences and similarities among the various theories. With this purpose in mind, the theories of development in this book are organized by “levels of analysis—individual, organizational, societal, and international. Some theories focus on the characteristics of individuals within a nation; others on the structure of work organization; others on the existing social, economic, and political institutions; and still others on a nation's position in the international system. These levels of theory identify a particular set of factors as the cause of development or underdevelopment. Organizing theories of development in this way serves to emphasize the important role of theory and of the levels of theory in shaping one's description, explanation, and interpretation of the development process. It also points to one of the leading sources of debate and controversy among development theorists: What is the appropriate level of analysis for understanding socio-economic change?

The material presented in this book is geared for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in development, social change, and comparative sociology, as well as those dealing with topics in political economy and socio-economics. The scope is inevitably interdisciplinary. The study of development touches the subject matter of sociology, economics, political science, and psychology. The book discusses theories associated with each of these fields. Further, the focus of theoretical concern extends beyond the problems of less-developed nations to the advanced industrial societies. No nation is immune to the continuous struggle . . .

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