Skip to main content

Development Theory: An Introduction to the Analysis of Complex Change

Development Theory: An Introduction to the Analysis of Complex Change

Peter Preston

ISBN: 978-0-631-19554-2 November 1996 Wiley-Blackwell 384 Pages


In Stock



In this invaluable introduction to the major post-Second World War theories of Third World development, Peter Preston takes as his focus the strategies used to analyze change in the Third World and examines the ways in which different conceptions of the nature of change have led to different lines of policy advice. In doing so, the author demonstrates how the various contemporary approaches to development draw upon strategies of enquiry which are lodged deep within the intellectual traditions of the modern world. The author's approach is based on the premise that the reader can only fully grasp the live issues and debates surrounding development through an understanding of the linkages with the broader frameworks of social theory.

The volume is organized into four major sections:

  • An introduction to the nature of social scientific analysis;
  • A review of the work of the major social scientific figures of the nineteenth century and their impacts in the twentieth;
  • A comprehensive discussion of the post-Second World War theories of Third World development;
  • A prospective study of the current debates within the field of development theory about global structures and agent responses.

Development Theory is designed to appeal to students across a wide range of disciplines, who are taking courses dealing with aspects of development.
List of Figures.

Abbreviations and Acronyms.



Part I: The Nature of Social Theorising:.

1. Arguments and Actions in Social Theorising.

Part II: Classical Social Theory:.

2. The Rise of a Social Science of Humankind.

3. Adam Smith and the Spontaneous Order of the Marketplace.

4. Karl Marx and the Dialectics of Historical Change.

5. Emile Durkheim and the Evolution of the Division of Labour.

6. The Transitional Work of Max Weber.

7. The Divisions of Intellectual Labour of the Short Twentieth Century, 1914-1991.

Part III: Contemporary Theories of Development:.

8. The Legacies of the Colonial Era: Structures, Institutions and Images.

9. Decolonization, Cold War and the Construction of Modernization Theory.

10. The Development Experience of Latin America: Structuralism and Dependency Theory.

11. The Pursuit of Effective Nationstatehood: The Work of the Institutionalist Development Theorists.

12. The Critical Work of Marxist Development Theory.

13. The Assertion of Third World Solidarity: Global Development Approaches.

14. The Affirmation of the Role of the Market: Metropolitan Neo Liberalism in the 1980s.

Part IV: New Analyses of Complex Change:.

15. Global System Interdependence: The New Structural Analyses of the Dynamics of Industrial-Capitalism.

16. Agent Centered Analyses and the Acknowledgment of the Diversity of Forms-of-life.

17. The Formal Character of a New General Approach to Development.

18. A New Substantive Focus: From Theorising the Development of the Third World to Elucidating the Dynamics of Complex Change in the Tripolar Global Industrial-Capitalist system.



"The author's approach is scholarly and informative, and his book deserves a place in the teaching resources of most departments ..." David Drakakis-Smith, University of Liverpool

"A readable, illuminating account ..." Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague

  • Comprehensively reviews the debates about development.

  • Shows how each position within these debates has been constructed.

  • Links present theorizing with long-established traditions.

  • Makes links with the broader frameworks of social theory that are necessary to really understand the issues and debates within development theory.