Development Theory Essay

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I come from a place where Latin American’s are often looked down upon and discriminated against. I have heard mumbled comments and bold statements from people, attributing negative characteristics to a Hispanic person because of the place they come from. It is important to study development in order to shed light on the way countries and cultures came to be where they are and to dispel ignorance. From the 1950’s through the 1970’s there have been many new additions to the field of development. Modernization, Dependency, and World System theory all emerged in different time periods and in response to different current events. While they contain differing perspectives, they use each other to form unique positions. Modernization Theory was born in a time of great prosperity for the United States. After World War II, while the U.S. was enjoying economic, domestic, and international success, the Soviet Union was exhibiting its territorial ambitions. Although they were allies in WWII, the U.S. began to feel distrustful of communist influence not only in Europe, but also in Asia. The ever-growing communist influence coupled with the “disintegration of the European colonial empires in Asia, Africa, and Latin America” created an uneasiness among many people in America (So 1953, 17). Interested in preventing these newly formed nation-states from falling into communist hands; American social scientists began to study development of Third-World states. The Modernization School is a product of evolutionary and functionalist philosophies. Classical evolutionary theory stresses slow, unidirectional change and development and puts a positive value on this change. Functionalist theory compares society to a living organism whose different institutions are closely related and work harmoniously to maintain homeostasis. Talcot Parsons, a great contributor to Functionalist

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