Introduction to Development Politics.

The first week of term has started, with information and papers about the new modules and dissertation being thrown at us from all angles. It was music to my ears when we were told about this fantastic opportunity to write a blog for a module I have been looking forward to before I enrolled back in October. I’m not a writer, but this is an opportunity for my highly opinionated mind to type my thoughts in a constructive manner. So in other words we get to have a voice rather than mass producing essays every few weeks BUT with the burning knowledge that it is being monitored in the background by the powers that be.

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Once the notion of the blog was explained the lecture on Development Politics and Political Development began by looking at how political development links to main theoretical ‘phases’. An interesting point that stuck out was the re-emergence of third world politics over the last 30 years, even politics goes through a ‘fashion’. As a first time political and development student, I tend to leave most classes having learnt something new. A comparison to CAD was made a couple of times with regards to political development theories, which I was not familiar with. But will a little research no knowledge can lead to, a the very least, a little knowledge.

The Modernisation theory stood out as it refers to the “Western-style democracy” which has advanced from Weber and Marxist thinking, and as a former GCSE and A Level Sociologist I take a great interest in Marxism. I have some sympathy for Lipset’s pre-conditions for democracy involving a middle-class, an urban population and literacy, however I am not sure how we would apply this to India. How can the “biggest democracy” have 42% of it’s population living below the poverty? Is a democracy simply having the clear gap between the bourgeoisie (ruling class) and proletariat (working class) and this newly formed middle class, if so I think India has successed this. 

On the other hand, having not ever studied Neo-Liberalism I find the concept of the State used to facilitate the economy while the political system has no role baffling. How could a country be run without any political influence? Politicians have a bad name across the globe, but I would like to think that the basic concept works for the people rather than the people not being considered for anything more than just money makers and economy boomers. Ruttan looked at the two concepts: politics and economy, first separately and then together, in an attempt to see how they fit, if at all. I would have to agree with his conclusion that “Economic resources are continuously translated into political resources, and large political resources are employed by most societies to obtain greater access to economic resources.” I am not sure how one can exist effectively without the other.

With the key theories in mind I can tell this module will challenge my political ideologies and my thoughts on development.

Now to see what the second week has to bring to the table…not that we have tables in class, but you know what I mean!

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