Theories of Development : Contentions, Arguments, Alternatives book cover
3rd Edition

Theories of Development
Contentions, Arguments, Alternatives

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ISBN 9781462519576
Published July 1, 2015 by Guilford Press
370 Pages

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Book Description

This widely adopted text starts with the fundamentals--what is economic growth, what is development, and what is the relationship between these two concepts? The authors examine orthodox theories of growth grounded in different schools of economics (classical, neoclassical, Keynesian, neoliberal) before considering critical alternatives (Marxist, socialist, poststructuralist, and feminist). The book elucidates the basic ideas that underpin contemporary controversies and debates surrounding economic growth, environmental crisis, and global inequality. It highlights points of contention among the various theories, links them to historical and current world events, and works toward envisioning a form of development that makes life better for all.

New to This Edition

  • Reflects the latest data and global development trends, such as the effects on economies of extreme weather events and climate change.
  • New discussions throughout the chapters, including the work of Thomas Piketty, Richard Florida, William Easterly, Niall Ferguson, and Arturo Escobar.
  • Responds to current crises, including the global financial meltdown and its consequences and the rise of finance capitalism.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Growth versus Development
I. Conventional Theories of Development
2. Classical and Neoclassical Economics
3. From Keynesian Economics to Neoliberalism
4. Development as Modernization
II. Nonconventional, Critical Theories of Development
5. Marxism, Socialism, and Development
6. Poststructuralism, Postcolonialism, and Postdevelopmentalism
7. Feminist Theories of Development
III. Critical Modernism
8. Critical Modernism and Democratic Development

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Richard Peet, PhD, is Professor of Geography at Clark University, where he was a founding member of the “radical geography movement” and long-time editor of Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography. His interests include development, global policy regimes, power, theory and philosophy, political ecology, and finance capitalism. The author of numerous books, articles, and book reviews, Dr. Peet is editor of the radical journal Human Geography.

Elaine Hartwick, PhD, is Professor of Geography at Framingham State University, Massachusetts, where she teaches courses in political, cultural, and regional geography and global development. She has published on commodity chains, consumer politics, social theory and development geography, with a regional specialization on Southern Africa.


"Theories of Development, Third Edition, is as far reaching, widely referenced, and penetrating as its predecessors. The book has been updated with the work of Piketty, Ferguson, Escobar, and others, as well as strengthened argumentation throughout. Perhaps it is ironic to say this book has kept pace with global crisis. This is an ideal text for upper-level undergraduate and graduate programs in geography, international and development studies, and other social sciences focusing on social change. Beginning doctoral students will find the book useful for situating their own research in a wider context of social theory."--Piers Blaikie, PhD, Professor Emeritus, School of International Development, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom

“Comprehensive, critical and accessible. This is the ideal text for graduate seminars and advanced undergraduate courses on development, in the fields of geography, development studies, sociology, political economy and (it is to be hoped!) economics. I have used earlier editions of this text in my graduate seminars for years. The third edition has been thoroughly revised and updated and includes critical assessments of many current debates. I look forward to using this book in classes and recommending it as a go-to reference.”--Tom Perreault, PhD, Department of Geography, Syracuse University

"Theories of Development, Third Edition, is a rare text covering the entire range of arguments, from classical and neoclassical economics to poststructuralism and feminism. The authors mount a devastating critique of mainstream economics, exposing its utterly contrived assumptions as well as its devastating consequences, especially for poorer people. But this is also an inspiring book, with a conclusion focused on alternative theories within a politics of a true democracy. A tour de force--read it to be outraged and then to find hope."--Robin Broad, PhD, International Development Program, School of International Service, American University

"Peet and Hartwick provide both breadth and depth in their presentation of competing theories of development. They offer critical insights on the roots and dynamics of the north-south divide in contemporary world societies. Speaking to both larger global and structural patterns and the characteristics of individual cases, the book enables a thorough understanding of development and an analysis of meaningful data and trends. Students will benefit from the comprehensive approach grounded in historical context. This book makes a valuable contribution to contemporary discussions of development policy, neoliberalism, and the challenges of poverty and global inequality in multiple forms."--Stephen J. Scanlan, PhD, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ohio University

"The third edition not only provides a comprehensive review of development theories, but also critiques them boldly, arguing that we need to fundamentally rethink the development project. This text offers a powerful indictment of global inequality and will be excellent for fostering provocative and engaging classroom discussion in upper-division undergraduate and graduate courses."--Kate Swanson, PhD, Department of Geography, San Diego State University