Academic journal article Social Development Issues

The Concept of Social Development: Text Analysis of Literature

Academic journal article Social Development Issues

The Concept of Social Development: Text Analysis of Literature

Article excerpt


The concept of development has been traditionally associated with economic development, but more recently it has evolved to encompass both social and economic development. In this integrated perspective, economic development is initially viewed as an engine for social development. Although the concept of social development is inclusive of economic development, it differs from economic development in that it encompasses economic, political, social, and cultural aspects (Gore, 19 73). In order to solve social problems, planned comprehensive social change is not enough; rather economic and cultural efforts at national and international levels are needed (Barker, 2003). Economic development stimulates economic growth, promoting the efficiency of the factors of production. Social development focuses on progressive changes in utilizing social resources to increase individual satisfaction and well-being.

A variety of socioeconomic and political factors shape our current understanding of the social development concept. There exist multiple definitions of social development. These definitions are evolving and ever changing. Definitions tend to be at times culture and place specific. The conceptual content may be influenced by the presence of powerful political and socioeconomic factions. Furthermore, social development approaches may be motivated by the severity of existing social problems. Flowever, with a few exceptions, such as Professor James Midgley's (1995) book, Social Development: The Developmental Perspective in Social Welfare, and Professor Manohar Pawar's (2014) book, Social and Community Development Practice, only a small number of studies have attempted to systematically assess the current conceptual content of the social development perspective. In order to address this conceptual gap, this study attempts to identify concepts currently associated with social development. Broadly, the focus of this study is on pooling conceptual correlations among words associated with social development in the literature.

Social work as a profession plays a key role in improving social development by addressing and meeting human needs (Jones & Pandey, 1978). Applying the practical and necessary task, social workers can globally play a significant role in understanding the challenges of achieving social development (Pawar, 2014, p. 4).

Definitions of Social Development

Social change is an intrinsic characteristic of development. However, social change also brings about new issues and social problems. It has been observed that, in addition to mental health, food security is currently a significant issue in developed countries. Analyzing new problems without considering changing social development concepts may lead to inaccurate understanding and assumptions. The concept of social development provides a useful framework to critically understand and manage social problems. In this regard, the International Consortium for Social Development (ICSD) is an organization dedicated to responding to pressing human concerns from an international and interdisciplinary perspective. It uses a social development approach to "expand capacity of individuals and communities; promote world peace and social justice; improve access to adequate health care and education; overcome discrimination against women and minorities; and also create sustainable income and economic structures" (ICSD, 2012, para. 3).

Variations in the conceptualization of social development have occurred owing to dissimilarities in issues arising from differences in geographical and chronological contexts. New issues tend to be more context and environment specific. For instance, improving primary education can be a crucial issue for Congo, but it is a far less pressing issue in Norway. Prior studies on social development have focused on a variety of issues, such as women (Allen, 1985; Boland, 1978; G licken, 1979; Thomas & Sinha, 2009), education (Bradshaw & Graham, 2007; Resnick, 1977), and community (Daley & Winter, 1978; Vlosky & Monroe, 2009). …

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