Katie Willis, M. Satish Kumar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This article outlines the key ways in which development as a concept and set of policies has been dealt with within geography and more broadly in policy environments mainly since World War II. There has been a clear recognition of the contested nature of the concept and how development as an ideology has been used in particular places and times with certain outcomes. Geographers' engagement with postcolonial and poststructural accounts of development and approaches to analysis has been important in this process. In addition, the general trend away from a purely economic focus has been obvious, as has been the tendency to consider grassroots and community-based scales of analysis and policy intervention. This focus on the local is welcome in that it can allow for greater understanding of diverse opinions, but it should not hide the inherently political nature of development and how power relations and inequalities are embedded in the very concept. Development despite its feel-good factor implies struggle and conflict to acquire resources and freedom of choice for the betterment of life for the majority.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Human Geography
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780081022955
ISBN (Print)9780081022962
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Development
  • Empowerment
  • Eurocentrism
  • Global governance
  • Modernization
  • Neoliberalism
  • Nongovernmental organizations
  • Postcolonialism
  • Postdevelopment
  • Power
  • Structural adjustment
  • Sustainability
  • World Bank

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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