From Neoliberalism to Post-development: Development Theory’s Decline and Redefinition

  • Justin van der Merwe
  • Nicole Dodd
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


Moving away from the nation-state as a unit of analysis towards human-centred development, Van der Merwe and Dodd highlight some of the late-twentieth-century trends and thinking by covering the global spread of capitalism and neoliberalism through globalisation. The chapter describes neoliberal theory as the dominant framework through which globalisation occurred, and as a global political-economic project and policy framework. The counter-currents in the literature such as those presented in post-development and critical development theory are also covered. The chapter suggests that contemporary praxis has continued to underdevelop countries in the Global South, albeit through new, deceptive means. These processes have had an uneven effect on development as almost no area of human life remains untrammelled. Placing the ‘human’ at the centre of these debates restores some of the initial optimism upon which the development project was founded.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin van der Merwe
    • 1
  • Nicole Dodd
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Military StudiesUniversity of StellenboschSaldanhaSouth Africa
  2. 2.School for Human and Organisational DevelopmentUniversity of StellenboschSaldanhaSouth Africa

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