Sociology of Development: Towards a Theoretical Option for the Global South

Keywords: Development, Social Theory, Global South, Foucault, Governmentality, Sociology of Development


This article proposes that social analysis should view the idea of global development as a series of actions and practices that seek to fundamentally reconfigure social relations in order to ‘manufacture’ new forms of community in the global South.  The emergent social forms exist at the margins of neoliberal economy, where personhood and morality are flexible, fluid, contested and remade through continuous dispossession and changing survival possibilities. In effect the practice of development is a continuation of the process of rule established by the colonial civilizing projects and maintained under postcolonial modernity’s neoliberal capitalism.  The article elaborates that as a national and regional process and discourse, development continues to generate and maintain forms (subjectivities) of self-regulation and control (governmentality) that both internalize and externalize the South in relation to the global economy and power structure. The paper suggests that sociology of development and related social inquiry should explore a South-aware theory of development in a way that could problematize development itself. It further suggests that the application of Michel Foucault’s concepts to examine the development trajectories may be a starting point that could excite discussions and collaborations for a nuanced exposition of the macro- and micro dynamics and experiences of the development phenomenon.


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Author Biography

Justus B. Aungo, Mombasa Campus, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya

Department of Sociology and Social Work

How to Cite
Aungo, J. (2020). Sociology of Development: Towards a Theoretical Option for the Global South. Social Inquiry: Journal of Social Science Research, 2(1), 11-30.
Theoretical Paper