Development Studies

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Development studies is the multidisciplinary branch of social science which addresses issues of concern to developing nations. The emergence of development studies as an academic discipline in the second half of the twentieth century is in large part due to increasing concern about economic prospects for the third world after decolonisation. While it originally emerged as a branch of economics, development economics, it has become an increasingly inter- and multi-disciplinary subject, encompassing politics, history, woman studies, sociology, geography, social anthropology and international relations. Development Studies is concerned with the interdisciplinary examination of processes which are transforming people’s lives throughout the world. In the past, it was concerned only with the poorer countries of the world and with the ways largely Western solutions, could be applied to solve development problems. More recently, it has recognized that the large economic and social forces at work are universal, embracing and connecting us all, though our different cultures, environments and resources lead to differing contexts and outcomes. Similarly, there has been a realization that the solutions suggested not only need to recognize cultural, social and environmental differences but also that Western science and technology has to work with, and learn from, indigenous knowledge systems. Development Studies, therefore, is an approach which seeks to understand differences, examine key development issues and ideas, and develop skills to help solve development problems. Development studies is offered as a specialised Master's degree in a number of universities, and, less commonly, as an undergraduate degree. Students of development studies often choose careers in international organisations such as United Nations, non-governmental organisations, the World Bank, and research centres. The era of modern development is commonly deemed to have commenced with the inauguration...
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