Advertisement

Theory and Society

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 471–497 | Cite as

Reframing development theory: the significance of the idea of uneven and combined development

  • Fouad Makki
Article

Abstract

This article spells out the significance for Development Theory of the idea of “uneven and combined development.” It argues that the impasse that afflicted materialist theories of international capitalist development in the 1980s was rooted in two fundamental problems: a misreading of Marx’s categories as directly historical; and the lack of an orienting method for deploying those categories to interpret a world of multiple and interacting societies. After reviewing the impact of these problems on the evolution of the main postwar approaches to development, the article undertakes the task of reconstruction in three steps. First, it sets out Marx’s understanding of capitalist modernity, showing how this calls for but does not explicitly provide a historical conceptualization of capitalist development. Second, it shows how Trotsky’s idea of “uneven and combined development” offers such a conceptualization, and how it thereby historicizes the phenomenon of development itself. Finally, it considers the limits of Trotsky’s own formulation of the idea, and suggests how a version released from these limits could better explain the complex spatio-temporality of capitalist development and constructively engage the most consequential challenges posed by ascendant cultural approaches in the field.

Keywords

Development theory Social theory Capitalism World history Spatio-temporality 

References

  1. Abu-Lughod, J. (1989). Before European hegemony: the world system A.D. 1250–1350. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Adas, M. (1989). Machines as the measure of men: science, technology, and ideologies of western dominance. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Aglietta, M. (1976). A theory of capitalist regulation: the US experience. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Ahmad, A. (1994). In theory: classes, nations, literatures. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  5. Albritton, R., Itoh, M., Westra, R., & Zuege, A. (2001). Phases of capitalist development: booms, crises and globalizations. New York: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Allinson, J. C., & Anievas, A. (2009). The uses and misuses of uneven and combined development: an anatomy of a concept. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22(1), 47–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Althusser, L., & Balibar, É. (1970). Reading capital. London: New Left Books.Google Scholar
  8. Amin, S. (1974). Accumulation on a world scale: a critique of the theory of underdevelopment. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  9. Amsden, A. (2003). Comment: good-bye dependency theory, hello dependency theory. Studies in Comparative International Development, 38(1), 32–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Anderson, B. (1991). Imagined Communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  11. Anderson, K. B. (2010). Marx at the margins: on nationalism, ethnicity, and non-western societies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  12. Anderson, P. (1974). Lineages of the absolutist state. London: New Left Books.Google Scholar
  13. Anderson, P. (1976). Considerations on western Marxism. London: New Left Books.Google Scholar
  14. Anderson, P. (1980). Arguments within English Marxism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  15. Anderson, P. (1983). In the tracks of historical materialism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  16. Anderson, P. (1992). English questions. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  17. Anderson, P. (2005). Spectrum: from right to left in the world of ideas. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  18. Arndt, H. W. (1987). Economic development: the history of an idea. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  19. Arrighi, G. (1994). The long twentieth century: money, power and the origins of our times. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  20. Arrighi, G., Silver, B., & Brewer, B. D. (2003). Industrial convergence, globalization, and the persistence of the north–south divide. Studies in Comparative International Development, 38(1), 3–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ashman, S. (2009). Capitalism, uneven and combined development and the transhistoric. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22(1), 29–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Atkins, K. (1988). “Kafir time”: preindustrial temporal concepts and labour discipline in nineteenth century colonial natal. Journal of African History, XXIX, 229–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Baran, P. (1957). The political economy of growth. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  24. Benjamin, W. (1973). Illuminations. London: Fontana.Google Scholar
  25. Bënsaid, D. (2002). Marx for our times: adventures and misadventures of a critique. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  26. Bhambra, G. (2011). Talking among themselves? Weberian and Marxist historical sociologies as dialogues without ‘others’. Millennium: Journal of International Relations, 39(3), 667–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Blackburn, R. (1997). The making of new world slavery: from the baroque to the modern, 1492–1800. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  28. Blaut, J. M. (2000). Eight Eurocentric historians. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  29. Bloch, E. (1977). Nonsynchronism and the obligation to its dialectics. New German Critique, 11, 22–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Brenner, R. (1977). The origins of capitalist development: a critique of neo-Smithian Marxism. New Left Review, I/104, 25–92.Google Scholar
  31. Brenner, R. (2008). Property and progress: where Adam Smith went wrong. In C. Wickham (Ed.), Marxist History-Writing for the Twenty-First Century (pp. 49–63). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Brenner, R., & Glick, M. (1991). The regulation approach: theory and history. New Left Review, I/188, 45–119.Google Scholar
  33. Burawoy, M. (1989). Two methods in search of science: Skocpol versus Trotsky. Theory & Society, 18, 759–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Callinicos, A., & Rosenberg, J. (2008). Uneven and combined development: the social-relational substratum of the international? An exchange of letters. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 21(1), 77–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Cardoso, F. H. (1972). Dependency and development in Latin America. New Left Review, I/72, 83–95.Google Scholar
  36. Castree, N. (2009). The spatio-temporality of capitalism. Time and Society, 18, 26–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Castree, N. (2010). Neoliberalism and the biophysical environment: a synthesis and evaluation of the research. Environment and Society: Advances in Research, 1(1), 5–45.Google Scholar
  38. Chakrabarty, D. (2000). Rethinking working-class history: Bengal 1890–1940. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Chakrabarty, D. (2007). Provincializing Europe: postcolonial thought and historical difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Chilcote, R. H., & Johnson, D. L. (Eds.). (1983). Theories of development: mode of production or dependency? Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  41. Cooper, F. (1996). Decolonization and African society: the labor question in British and French Africa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Cooper, F., & Packard, R. (Eds.). (1997). International development and the social sciences: essays on the history and politics of knowledge. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  43. Cowen, M. P., & Shenton, R. W. (1996). Doctrines of development. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Davidson, N. (2009). Putting the nation back into the international. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 22(1), 9–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Davidson, N. (2012). How revolutionary were the bourgeois revolutions? Chicago: Haymarket Books.Google Scholar
  46. Davis, M. (2002). Lat victorian holocausts: El Niño famines and the making of the third world. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  47. Davis, M. (2007). Planet of slums. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  48. Day, R. B. (1976). The theory of the long cycle: Kondratiev, Trotsky, Mandel. New Left Review, I/99, 67–82.Google Scholar
  49. Deutscher, I. (1967). Stalin: a political biography. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Dews, P. (1987). Logics of disintegration: post-structuralist thought and the claims of critical theory. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  51. Donham, D. (1990). History, power, ideology: central issues in Marxism and anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Eley, G. (2002). The history of the left in Europe, 1850–2000. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Eley, G., & Nield, K. (2007). The future of class in history: what’s left of the social? Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  54. Emmanuel, A. (1972). Unequal exchange: a study of the imperialism of trade. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  55. Evans, P. (1979). Dependent development: the alliance of multinational state and local capital in Brazil. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Federici, S. (2004). Caliban and the witch: women, the body and primitive accumulation. New York: Autonomedia.Google Scholar
  57. Ferguson, J. (1990). The anti-politics machine: development, depoliticization and bureaucratic power in the third world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Ferguson, J. (2006). Global shadows: Africa in the neoliberal global order. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Foster, J. B. (2000). Marx’s ecology: materialism and nature. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  60. Foster-Carter, A. (1978). The modes of production controversy. New Left Review, I/107, 47–77.Google Scholar
  61. Frank, A. G. (1967). Capitalism and underdevelopment in Latin America. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  62. Fraser, N., & Honneth, A. (2004). Redistribution or recognition? A political-philosophical exchange. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  63. Gerschenkron, A. (1962). Economic backwardness in historical perspective. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Gore, C. (2000). The rise and fall of the Washington consensus as a paradigm for developing countries. World Development, 28(5), 189–204.Google Scholar
  65. Gupta, A. (1998). Postcolonial developments: agriculture in the making of modern India. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Halliday, F. (1999). Revolution and world politics: the rise and fall of the sixth great power. London: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Harvey, D. (2006). Spaces of global development: towards a theory of uneven geographical development. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  68. Hobsbawm, E. (1965). Introduction to Karl Marx: pre-capitalist economic formations. New York: International Publishers.Google Scholar
  69. Hobsbawm, E. (1989). The age of empire: 1875–1914. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  70. Huntington, S. (1968). Political order in changing societies. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  71. Jacques, M. (2009). When China rules the world: the rise of the middle kingdom and the end of the western world. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  72. Jones, G. S. (1984). Some notes on Karl Marx and the English labor movement. History Workshop Journal, 18, 124–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Jones, G. S. (2011). The young Hegelians, Marx and Engels. In G. S. Jones & G. Claeys (Eds.), The Cambridge history of nineteenth century political thought (pp. 556–600). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Kuhn, A., & Wolpe, A. (Eds.). (1978). Feminism and materialism: women and modes of production. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  75. Laclau, E. (1971). Feudalism and capitalism in Latin America. New Left Review, I/67, 19–38.Google Scholar
  76. Laclau, E., & Mouffe, C. (1985). Hegemony and socialist Strategy. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  77. Leys, C. (1996). The rise and fall of development theory. London: James Curry.Google Scholar
  78. Löwy, M. (1982). The politics of combined and uneven development. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  79. Lyotard, J. F. (1984). The postmodern condition: A report on knowledge. Minnesota: University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  80. Mamdani, M., Mkandawire, T., & Wamba dia Wamba, E. (1988). Social movements, social transformations and struggle for democracy in Africa. Economic and Political Weekly, 7, 973–981.Google Scholar
  81. Mandel, E. (1975). Late Capitalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  82. Mandel, E. (1979). Trotsky: a study in the dynamics of his thought. London: New Left Books.Google Scholar
  83. Mandel, E. (1980). Long Waves of Capitalist Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  84. Marx, K. (1934). Letter to the editor of the Otyecestvininye Zapisky. In D. Torr (Ed.), The correspondence of Marx and Engels. London.Google Scholar
  85. Marx, K. (1973). Grundrisse: introduction to the critique of political economy. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  86. Marx, K. (1976). Capital (1). Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  87. Marx, K. (1996). Marx: later political writings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  88. Marx, K. (1998). The German ideology: including theses on Feuerbach and introduction to the critique of political economy. Amherst: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  89. Massey, D. (1999). Power-geometries and the politics of space-time. Heidelberg: University of Heidelberg.Google Scholar
  90. Matin, K. (2012). Redeeming the universal: postcolonialism and the inner life of Eurocentrism. European Journal of International Relations, 19(2), 353–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Matin, K. (2013). Recasting Iranian modernity: international relations and social change. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  92. Mayer, A. (1981). The persistence of the old regime: Europe to the great war. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  93. McMichael, P. (1990). Incorporating comparison within a world-historical perspective: an alternative comparative method. American Sociological Review, 55(3), 385–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. McMichael, P. (2000). World-systems analysis, globalization and incorporated comparisons. Journal of World Systems Research, 6(3), 668–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Meillassoux, C. (Ed.). (1971). The development of indigenous trade and markets in West Africa. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  96. Melas, N. (2014). Comparative noncontemporanieties: C.L.R. James and Ernst Bloch. In J. Potts & D. Sout (Eds.), Theory aside. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  97. Mies, M. (1999). Patriarchy and accumulation on a world scale: women in the international division of labor. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  98. Mintz, S. (1986). Sweetness and power: the place of sugar in modern history. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  99. Mitchell, T. (2000). Questions of modernity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  100. Mitchell, T. (2002). Rule of experts: Egypt, techno-politics, modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  101. Murray, R. (1972). Underdevelopment, international firms, and the international division of labour. In J. Tinbergen (Ed.), Towards a new world economy (pp. 159–248). Rotterdam: Rotterdam University Press.Google Scholar
  102. Nairn, T. (1988). The enchanted glass: Britain and its monarchy. London: Radius.Google Scholar
  103. O’Connor, J. (1989). Uneven and combined development and ecological crisis: an introduction. Race and Class, 30(3), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Osborne, P. (1995). The politics of time: modernity and avant-garde. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  105. Parpart, J. (1995). Post-modernism, gender and development. In J. Crush (Ed.), Power of development (pp. 253–265). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  106. Pieterse, J. N. (2010). Development Theory: Deconstructions/Reconstructions. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Postone, M. (1993). Time, labor and social domination: a reinterpretation of Marx’s critical theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Rodney, W. (1973). How Europe underdeveloped Africa. Dar-es-salaam: Tanzanian Publishing House.Google Scholar
  109. Rosdolsky, R. (1977). The making of Marx’s capital. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  110. Rosenberg, J. (1994). The empire of civil society. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  111. Rosenberg, J. (2006). Why is there no international historical sociology? European Journal of International Relations, 12(3), 307–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  112. Rosenberg, J. (2010). Basic problems in the theory of uneven and combined development (Part II). Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 23(1), 165–189.Google Scholar
  113. Rosenberg, J. (2013). The “philosophical premises” of uneven and combined development. Review of International Studies, 39(3), 569–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  114. Rostow, W. W. (1960). The stages of economic growth: a non-communist manifesto. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  115. Sayer, D. (1987). The violence of abstraction. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  116. Sayer, D. (1991). Capitalism & modernity: an excursus on Marx and Weber. New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Sewell, W. H. (1993). Toward a post-materialist rhetoric for labor history. In L. Berlanstein (Ed.), Rethinking labor history: essays on discourse and class analysis (pp. 15–38). Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  118. Shanin, T. (1983). The late Marx and the Russian road: Marx and ‘the peripheries of capitalism.’. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  119. Shanin, T. (1985). Russia as a ‘developing society’: the roots of otherness: Russia’s turn of the century (Vol. 1). New Haven: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  120. Shilliam, R. (2009). German thought and international relations: the rise and fall of the liberal project. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  121. Smith, N. (1991). Uneven development: nature, capital and the production of space. Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  122. Subrahmanyam, S. (1997). Connected histories: notes towards a reconfiguration of early modern Eurasia. Modern Asian Studies, 31(3), 735–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  123. Therborn, G. (1977). The rule of capital and the rise of democracy. New Left Review, I/103, 3–41.Google Scholar
  124. Tomich, D. (2004). Through the prism of slavery: labor, capital and world economy. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  125. Toye, J. (1987). Dilemmas of development: reflections on the counter-revolution in development economics. Cambridge: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  126. Toye, J., & Toye, R. (2004). The UN and global political economy: trade, finance, and development. Indiana: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  127. Trotsky, L. (1945 [1921]). The first five years of the communist international. New York: Pioneer Publishers.Google Scholar
  128. Trotsky, L. (1957 [1928]). The third international after Lenin. New York: Pioneer Publishers.Google Scholar
  129. Trotsky, L. (1960 [1930]). The history of the Russian revolution. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  130. Trotsky, L. (1969 [1928]). The permanent revolution and results and prospects. New York: Pathfinder Press.Google Scholar
  131. Trotsky, L. (1973 [1923]). Problems of everyday life. New York: Pathfinder Press.Google Scholar
  132. Trotsky, L. (1977). The transitional program for socialist revolution. New York: Pathfinder Press.Google Scholar
  133. Trouillot, M. R. (2003). Global transformations: anthropology and the modern world. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  134. Tsing, A. L. (2004). Friction: an ethnography of global connections. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  135. Van der Linden, M. (2007). The ‘law’ of uneven and combined development: some underdeveloped notes. Historical Materialism, 15, 145–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  136. Van der Linden, M. (2012). Gerschenkron’s secret: a research note. Critique, 40(4), 553–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  137. Van der Linden, M. (2014). San precario: a new inspiration for labor historians. Labor, 11(1), 9–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  138. Wade, R. H. (2004). Is globalization reducing poverty and inequality? World Development, 32(4), 567–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  139. Wallerstein, I. (1991). Unthinking social science: the limits of nineteenth-century paradigms. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  140. Wallerstein, I. (2004). World-systems analysis: an introduction. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  141. Warren, B. (1980). Imperialism: pioneer of capitalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  142. Washbrook, D. (1997). From comparative sociology to global history: Britain and India in the prehistory of modernity. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, 40(4), 410–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  143. Watts, M. J. (1993). Development I: power, knowledge, discursive practice. Progress in Human Geography, 17, 257–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  144. Wolf, E. (1982). Europe and the peoples without history. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  145. Wolpe, H. (Ed.). (1980). The articulation of modes of production: essays from economy and society. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  146. Wood, E. M. (1988). Capitalism and human emancipation. New Left Review, I/167, 1–21.Google Scholar
  147. Wood, E. M. (1995). Democracy Against capitalism: rewriting historical materialism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  148. Wood, E. M. (2005). The empire of capital. London: Verso.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Development SociologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations