The main argument of this chapter is that, despite conceptual ambiguity and different perceptions of it, social development as a goal, strategy, idea and ideal has remained with us. The term has passed though phases of popularity, decline and reemergence in varied manifestations. It has not been devoid of ideological orientations and has been greatly infl uenced by these. Despite all its ups and downs, we shall argue in this chapter that social development is practical and its goals achievable. To develop this core argument, the fi rst section of the chapter analyzes several meanings of social development; the second traces its historical evolution and shows how social development draws strength from various theoretical/ideological traditions; and the fi nal section discusses an emerging approach to social development. Achieving social development at all levels on a global scale is a challenging task, but we believe it is a practical and necessary task, provided people and institutions are willing to undertake it and committed to it.