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5(Special Issue)/2006

Bolesław Domański

Critique of the Concept of Development and Regional Studies

Critique of the Concept of Development and Regional Studies
At the end of the 20th century the concept of development as a synonym of modernisation and progress came under heavy criticism, together with its various forms such as Europeanisation. It has been criticised for treating development as a teleological, uniform, linear, normalising and instrumental process. Such an approach is frequently underpinned by the concept of dichotomous division of space. Post-development criticism includes various ideologies, such as conservative anti-modernism, neo-liberal rejection of state interventionism and leftist cultural relativism. The author claims that the main weaknesses of the development concept stem from unfounded generalisations with respect to the object, time and space in which such processes are observed. Such weaknesses can be overcome without adopting radically post-modernist positions, rejecting any valuation of regional development trajectories. Regional studies may treat development as an open process, not necessarily leading to predetermined outcomes and not always following the paths taken by the more developed regions. There exist different development paths that are nonlinear processes, in which endogenous factors, such as activity of local actors, play a significant role.
Afiliacja:
Bolesław Domański: Instytut Geografii i Gospodarki Przestrzennej UJ (ul. Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Kraków); b.domanski@geo.uj.edu.pl