Skip main navigation
We use cookies to give you a better experience, if that’s ok you can close this message and carry on browsing. For more info read our cookies policy.
We use cookies to give you a better experience. Carry on browsing if you're happy with this, or read our cookies policy for more information.
Infographic with elements of development depicted.
Development is more than just about buildings and infrastructure.

So, what is Development?

Development is an industry, a sector, a set of institutions, a mode of practice, a set of aspirations.

It is also a concept that emanated from the so-called ‘developed’ world to describe and represent the condition of the countries, peoples and states that are its targets and assumed ‘beneficiaries’.

Two provocations to think about here:

  • Development has a culture

Development’s own culture is produced and enacted by global institutions, policies, governments, agencies, texts and policies.

  • Development work occurs across social and cultural difference.

Differences of governance structures and cultures, religion, family, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, justice and legal systems, economic exchange and reciprocity traditions, environmental values are all important considerations in development work.  

Sometimes these issues are downplayed when we talk about development.

Some important things to think about here:

  • Inequity, poverty and exploitation, are often seen as problems internal to a nation, a culture or a religion.
  • Is the role of development to empower and liberate women? Or is it something else?

Your task

To help us think about the notion of development as a culture, working across difference, let’s view development from a different angle for a moment. Read the Burnum Burnum Declaration that was made on the bicentenary of the British establishing the colony of New South Wales (Lunan, McCaffery and McIntosh 2010).

What would be the first development steps for Britain as a colony based on the Burnum Burnum Declaration?

Share your thoughts in comments.

Reference

(Burnam Burnam) 1988, Burnum Burnum Declaration in (Lunan, M, McCaffery J and McIntosh, S) 2010, A’ Adam’s Bairns?: Exploring equality and diversity in Scotland past and present. National Library of Scotland and Scotdec, retrieved 29 June 2017, http://www.scotdec.org.uk/aadamsbairns/index.html.

> Unit ADS714 program page

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Gender and Development

Deakin University

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join:

Contact FutureLearn for Support