Social Evolution and Development: The Bourgeois Liberal Tradition

  • Ankie M. M. Hoogvelt
Part of the The Sociology of Developing Societies book series


Scientific theories of development may be broadly classed into two groups: liberal and Marxist. Both are inheritors of a long-standing Western intellectual concern with progress. That concern, we all know, came fully into its own with the growth of science and technology, and the spread of industrialisation in Western Europe from the eighteenth century onwards. The irresistible conquest of man over nature, the resultant improvement in material conditions of life, and (above all) the economic and political power it permitted the European civilisations to wield over all other civilisations in the world, could not but have fed notions of progress and historical superiority into the philosophical reflections of the time.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Cf. Sidney Pollard, The Idea of Progress (New York: Basic Books, 1968) pp. ix–x.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cf. T. B. Bottomore, Sociology: a Guide to Problems and Literature (London: Allen & Unwin, 1962) p. 48.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    H. Morgan, Ancient Society, quoted by E. Service in his contribution on ‘Evolution’ in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (New York: Macmillan, 1968) p. 223.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    T. Parsons, The Social System (Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1951) p. 167.Google Scholar
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    Max Weber, quoted in D. Beetham, Max Weber and the Theory of Modem Politics (London: Allen & Unwin, 1974) p. 68.Google Scholar
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    A. Inkeles, Becoming Modern: Individual Change in Six Developing Countries (London: Heinemann, 1974).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    D. McClelland and D. G. Winter, ‘Motivating Economic Achievement’ in R.D. Ward (ed.), The Challenge of Development (Chicago: Aldine, 1967).Google Scholar
  8. The theoretical basis for this bizarre attempt at social engineering can be found in D. McClelland, The Achieving Society (New York: Van Nostrand, 1961).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Cf. H. R. Barringer, G. L. Blanksten and Raymond W. Mack (eds), Social Change in Developing Areas (Cambridge, Mass.: Schenkman, 1965), for an assessment of the influence of evolutionism in the literature of development and modernisation.Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    For internationally accepted ‘standard’ compilations of such indicators, see, for example, Compilation of Indicators of Development (Geneva: UNRISD, 1969); Contents and Measurement of Socio-Economic Development, a staff study of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (New York: Praeger, 1972) pp. 45–6; N. Ginsberg, Atlas of Economic Development (Chicago University Press, 1961)Google Scholar
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    Ivan Illich, ‘Outwitting the “Developed” Countries’, in H. Bernstein (ed.), Underdevelopment and Development (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974) pp. 357–68.Google Scholar
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    Talcott Parsons, The Evolution of Societies, edited and with an introduction by Jackson Toby (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1977) p. 229. Apart from the introduction by Toby and his editorial work, this volume is mostly a reprint of Parsons’s two small 1967 volumes: The Evolution of Societies and The System of Modern Societies. It does, however, also contain an additional chapter, ‘Continuing Evolution’.Google Scholar
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    H. Kahn, World Economic Development, 1979 and Beyond (Boulder, Col.: Westview Press, 1979).Google Scholar

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© Ankie M. M. Hoogvelt 1982

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  • Ankie M. M. Hoogvelt

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