The Inadequacy of Post-Development Theory to the Discourse of Development and Social Order in the Global South

Authors: Felix O. Olatunji; Anthony I. Bature
Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 18, Number 2 / September 2019


The post-development theorists argue that certain characteristics of the ‘Western’ ways of talking about and representing the non-West should be understood as ideological projections rather than as scientific knowledge about people and places elsewhere. To these theorists, the ways of conceiving and representing development that are closely bound to the North's development agencies and programs reveal more about the self-affirming ideologies of the Global North than insights into the peoples of the rest of the world. In addition, the post-development scholars take up the position that development has less to do with human improvement and more to do with human control and domination. This theory suggests that societies at the local level should be allowed to pursue their own development path as they perceive it without the influences of global capital and other modern choices, and thus a rejection of the entire paradigm from Eurocentric model and the advocation of new ways of thinking about the non-Western societies. However, this developmental model for the societies of the Global South, especially Africa, is inefficient because it is a kind of cultural relativism, which is capable of veering into fundamentalism and does not allow for mutual borrowing. The thrust of this study lies basically in presenting that a combination of cultural knowledge and Western development theories through an adaptation of post-development model is needed for development and social order in Africa. This means that an all-inclusive model encapsulating life promotion and centred on human should be adopted as a development model for Africa.

Felix O. Olatunji, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso more

Anthony I. Bature, Federal University, Wukari more