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“If you want one text to give students an introduction to the developing world, Handelman is it. It's free of jargon and expertly written.”—Wendy Hunter, University of Texas-Austin
Ch. 1 Understanding Underdevelopment 1
Ch. 2 Democratic Change and the Change to Democracy 27
Ch. 3 Religion and Politics 55
Ch. 4 The Politics of Cultural Pluralism and Ethnic Conflict 92
Ch. 5 Women and Development 136
Ch. 6 Agrarian Reform and the Politics of Rural Change 172
Ch. 7 Rapid Urbanization and the Politics of the Urban Poor 196
Ch. 8 Revolutionary Change 225
Ch. 9 Soldiers and Politics 250
Ch. 10 The Political Economy of Third World Development 284
For want of a better term, this book refers to the more than 150 disparate, developing nations as the Third World (the term is defined in Chapter 1). They include desperately poor countries such as Afghanistan and Ethiopia and rapidly developing industrial powers such as South Korea and Taiwan. Some, like Trinidad and Costa Rica, are stable democracies; others, such as Myanmar and Syria, suffer under highly repressive dictatorships. All of them, however, share at least some of the aspects of political, economic, and social underdevelopment that are analyzed in this book.
No text is capable of fully examining the political and economic systems of so many highly diverse countries. Instead, we will look for common issues, problems, and potentialsolutions. We start in Chapter 1 by exploring the nature of political and economic underdevelopment, and we then analyze the leading explanatory theories. The next chapter discusses what has been arguably the most important political change in world politics during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries—the wave of democratic change that has swept over the developing nations of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East (as well as the former Soviet bloc of nations and southern Europe).
Because these often still-fragile transitions from authoritarian to democratic government are potentially so important, most of the chapters that follow contain discussion of how democratization is likely to influence issues such as the level of ethnic conflict, the role of women in the political system, and the proper path to economic development.
Chapters 3 to 5 on Religion and Politics, Cultural Pluralism and Ethnic Conflict, and Women and Development analyze broad social forces and gender issues that have often divided developing nations. Chapters 6 to 7 on Rural Change and Urbanization discuss the specific problems and challenges that many countries face in those two sectors of society. Next, Chapters 8 to 9 on Revolutionary Change and Soldiers and Politics consider the records of each of those regime types (e.g., revolutionary governments in China and Cuba and military regimes in Brazil and Indonesia) as alternative models of political and economic development. Finally, Chapter 10, dealing with Third World Political Economies, compares alternative paths to economic development and evaluates the relative effectiveness of each.
It is easy to despair when considering the tremendous obstacles facing most Third World nations and the failures of political leadership that so many of them have endured. Unfortunately, many of us in the First World have suffered from "compassion fatigue" or have become cynical about cooperative efforts with Third World countries. The assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001 and the ensuing war with Afghanistan have reinforced many people's perception of the less developed nations (LDCs) as poor beyond redemption and saturated with fanaticism and authoritarian beliefs. Yet the recent trend toward democratization in the developing world (most notably in Latin America), the increased stability that has come to southern Africa, and the enormous economic growth that has taken place in parts of East and Southeast Asia, all provide new bases for hope. It is incumbent upon the West's next generation of citizens and leaders to renew efforts to understand the challenge of Third World development.
Posted November 16, 2007
I got the book from a friend of mine and when I just opened a page, the first paragraph happened to be about my country, Ethiopia. In the paragraph, the author made a remark unexpected of a scholar. When the author was supposed to indicate a claim merely as a ¿claim¿, he presented it as a proven fact. So, for instance, if any third world country, say Kenya, claims to be the world superpower, is he going to put it like ¿Kenya is the world superpower¿? The author needs to learn to present this claim in a statement like ¿Kenya claims to be¿¿. The author went on saying two provinces of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Tigray, waged war against Ethiopia and became independent states. True, Eritrea, the former province of Ethiopia, became a separate state in 1991. However, the statement about the other province, Tigray, is far from truth. Tigray is an Ethiopian province till this very moment. Can you believe such bold statements in a book intended to be a text book on international relations? Did the author think his readers know nothing about these facts and they will never find out? The moment I read that statement, I totally lost confidence on the book. How could I believe anything the author claims afterwards? It seems that the author never did a thorough research to discover facts. Overall, the book looks fine but I have no idea how much inaccurate information it contains. I think the author needs to verify his data and the sources before he put his pen down the next time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.