Reflections on six decades of the concept of development: Evaluation and future research

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The concept of development has undergone significant changes over the past half a century. Many scholars and practitioners have defined the concept differently based on their philosophy, purpose, context and time. This study reviews the evolution of development approaches and focus since the 1950s. The study explores current thinking and discussions on the concept and further presents an evaluation of the concept of development as well as future research priorities. The paper adopts a secondary data analysis technique by reviewing and analyzing both old and current knowledge in published literature. Over 60 publications were reviewed and analyzed for this study. The paper asserts that, in order to understand and apply the concept to different geographical regions, development should be understood as a relative rather than an absolute concept. It shows the iterative process of the concept and further establishes the importance of human wellbeing in the development discourse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-158
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sustainable Development in Africa
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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