Three Theories Assignment #1

Topics: Sociology, Social position, Human Pages: 33 (12387 words) Published: June 1, 2013
Social Development Theory
by Garry Jacobs and Harlan ClevelandNovember 1, 1999
Importance of Theory
The formulation of valid theory possesses enormous power to elevate and accelerate the expansion and development of human capabilities in any field, leading to fresh discoveries, improvement of existing activities and capacity for greater results. Science is replete with examples of theoretical formulations that have led to important breakthroughs, such as the discoveries of Neptune and Pluto, electromagnetic waves, subatomic particles, and new elements on the periodic table. Today scientists are discovering new substances on computer by applying the laws of quantum mechanics to predict the properties of materials before they synthesize them. In fact, a broad range of technological achievements in this century has been made possible by the emergence of sound theoretical knowledge in fields such as physics, chemistry and biology. As management expert Peter Drucker put it, “There is nothing more practical than a good theory.” Valid theory can tell us not only what should be done, but also what can be done and the process by which it can be achieved. Social development can be summarily described as the process of organizing human energies and activities at higher levels to achieve greater results. Development increases the utilization of human potential. In the absence of valid theory, social development remains largely a process of trial and error experimentation, with a high failure rate and very uneven progress. The dismal consequences of transition strategies in most Eastern Europe countries, the very halting progress of many African and Asian countries, the increasing income gap between the most and least developed societies, and the distressing linkage between rising incomes, environmental depletion, crime and violence reflect the fact that humanity is vigorously pursuing a process without the full knowledge needed to guide and govern it effectively. Advances in development theory can enhance our social success rate by the same order of magnitude that advances in theoretical physics have multiplied technological achievements in this century. The emergence of a sound theoretical framework for social development would provide the knowledge needed to address these inadequacies. It would also eventually lead us to the most profound and practical discovery of all – the infinite creative potentials of the human being. Hierarchy of learningSocial development consists of two interrelated aspects – learning and application. Society discovers better ways to fulfill its aspirations and it develops organizational mechanisms to express that knowledge to achieve its social and economic goals. The process of discovery expands human consciousness. The process of application enhances social organization. Society develops in response to the contact and interaction between human beings and their material, social and intellectual environment. The incursion of external threats, the pressure of physical and social conditions, the mysteries of physical nature and complexities of human behavior prompt humanity to experiment, create and innovate. The experience resulting from these contacts leads to learning on three different levels of our existence. At the physical level, it enhances our control over material processes. At the social level, it enhances our capacity for effective interaction between people at greater and greater speeds and distances. At the mental level, it enhances our knowledge. While the learning process takes place simultaneously on all these planes, there is a natural progression from physical experience to mental understanding. Historically, society has developed by a trial and error process of...
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