Development Theory and Actors

  What is Development? Theoretical and Conceptual Approaches by Ines Renique 

It is fascinating to look at all of the interpretations of development and how each theory can be applied in the short and long run. Some of these theories have been around for years and are still used as a point of reference today. Such as Freire’s, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

Freire highlights the importance of education. He says transformation comes from work, and that work comes from education. These are the true routes to development, more so than throwing money at whatever situation. Merely handing over cash aid to other governments, does not guarantee anything. I think that years after publishing, this is a theory that still holds.

Development is very closely associated to economics as well. And while I know that undoubtedly economic factors are fundamental when analyzing development, I tend to agree with Amartya Sen when he focuses on freedom being the primary factor in whether or not a nation continues to develop.

Sen argues that people are at the core of development. The members of society are not a passive audience member when it comes to the development of their nation. As said in Sen’s own words: “Development consists of the removal of various types of unfreedoms that leave people with little choice and little opportunity of exercising their reasoned agency. The removal of substantial unfreedoms, it is argued here, is constitutive of development.”

This is not to say that Sen disregards organizations and governments as key to development. But he does highlight the importance of inclusion and of representation more than anything. That stakeholder groups be represented on a greater platform, giving them the freedom to make whatever decisions and changes it is they want to be made.