Critical Review On Studying Development And Development Studies
Student Number: 10063851
MSc International Development
Critical Review of:
Bernstein, H. (2006) ‘Studying development/development studies’, African Studies, 65:1, 45-62
Word count (excluding referencing): 2000 words
The context into which development studies were born has changed significantly over time, and so too have our understandings about development itself. Given this change, can we still know and study development in the way we first knew it? This is one of the primary questions explored by Henry Bernstein (2006) in his article “Studying development/development studies’.
As suggested by the article title, Bernstein positions development studies and studying development as somewhat disconnected, both theoretically and historically through particular ideological shifts. Now that neo-liberalism has been established as the unchallenged paradigm, Bernstein argues that “development studies… is today too restricted, incoherent and fickle an academic entity to offer a convincing space for contemplating, renewing and advancing the great tradition of studying development” (p.58). The motif of the ‘great tradition’ appears frequently in the article; both as an homage to Bill Freund , and as a belief of development as being necessarily historical, modernist, and focused on political economy (Bernstein, 2006).
This essay follows Bernstein’s exposition in exploring the various historical conceptions of development and how these have…