Crises and continuities in development theory and administration: First and Third World perspectives

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Abstract

‘Development Administration’ as an academic discipline originated in the West and has been dominated by Western thought. This article traces the development of the discipline and outlines its Western theoretical foundations and assumptions. The failure of Development Administration to solve the problems of the Third World is outlined, and the ‘indigenization of underdevelopment’ is discussed. New challenges to the discipline, that have been previously seen as ‘heretical’, are presented as alternatives to Western models that have proven their ineffectiveness. China, Guinea-Bissau, India, Tanzania and Libya are used as examples of countries attempting alternative routes to development and development administration. The article stresses the need for open examination of non-traditional models that may provide valuable clues in the struggle for a viable developmental strategy. It concludes by suggesting four major issues around which a new conceptualization can be built: accountable development administration, the role of values, the emergence of fundamentalist ideologies, and the challenges posed by the Third Development Decade.

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