chapter  3
21 Pages

Finishing with the Idea of the Third World: The Concept of the Political Trajectory

Academic analysis of societies of the 'south' has long been divided between the conflicting theories of 'modernisation' and 'dependency'. Paradoxically these opposing schools of thought also share a common belief: that of external factors being the major influence behind political change in Africa, Latin America and Asia since the global expansion of Western imperialism. It is of little essential importance that one theory emphasises the rise of 'modernisation' to the detriment of 'tradition', whereas the other concentrates on an undifferentiated 'periphery' which is in a dependent relationship working to the advantage of the 'centre'. As the emphasis has been put upon an explanation based upon external factors, the unity and specificity of the economic and political problems faced by these three continents has been postulated. This has given rise to the invention of the fantasy of the 'Third World' and to the theory of the radical extraneity of the modern state based on the model of Western bureaucracy. This alienation is then held responsible for most of the problems associated with political underdevelopment.