Challenging Global Inequality

Development theory and practice in the 21st century

by Alastair Greig, David Hulme, and Mark Turner

Chapter by chapter resources - Chapter 4

Review Questions

  • What is progress?
  • In what sense is progress a modern phenomenon?
  • How was change viewed in pre-modern times and what conditions encouraged this outlook?
  • What role did the development of science perform in altering understandings of social relations?
  • In what sense were the Industrial and the French Revolutions catalysts for modernity?
  • What elements of modernity were different classical sociologists exploring?
  • Why have nineteenth century understandings of social change been described as ‘linear’?
  • What criticisms have been levelled at linear models of development?
  • Is scientific knowledge characterised more by certainty or scepticism?
  • What were the costs and benefits of modernity, according to classical sociologists?
  • Why might Gray have stated that ‘a belief in progress is the Prozac of the thinking classes’?
  • In what sense was colonialism ‘progressive’?
  • How did imperial powers justify colonialism?
  • What were the costs of colonialism’?
  • What forces led to the decline in European colonialism?
  • Why might structuralists emphasize exogenous forces when analyzing colonialism and inequality?
  • Is global inequality a consequence of structures that hold the world together as a cultural and economic unit, or are poorer nation simply at an earlier stage of development?
  • Why did ‘the development project’ emerge as a key global challenge in the wake of the Second World War?
  • Did the Bretton Woods conference signify a fairer future for global trade? Did its structure promote development?

Further Reading

Coser, L. (1971), Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context, New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Hayek, F.A. (1944), The Road to Serfdom, Sydney, Dymock’s Book Arcade.

Hobsbawm, E. (1994), Age of Extremes: The Short Twentieth Century 1914-1991, London, Michael Joseph.

Kumar, K. (1993), From Post-Industrial to Post-Modern Society: New Theories of the Contemporary World, Oxford, Blackwell.

Rist, G. (1999), The History of Development: From Western Origins to Global Faith, London, Zed Books.

Roxborough, I. (1979), Theories of Underdevelopment, London, Macmillan.


A good introduction to the idea of progress is presented in this Teodor Shanin article:

A comprehensive site on Marx and Marxism is the Marxists Internet Archive:

Dr Rick Kuhn also has an excellent website on Marxism:

Keith Windschuttle’s The Sydney Line website contains some articles defending the legacy of British colonialism:

Dinesh D’Sousa’s article, ‘Two Cheers for Colonialism’ is also available on the internet:

The homepage of the International Monetary

The homepage of the World Bank: http://