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Usable Social Science$
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Neil J. Smelser and Bob Adamson

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520273566

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520273566.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Economic Development and Social Change

Economic Development and Social Change

(p.229) 7 Economic Development and Social Change
Usable Social Science

Neil J. Smelser

John S. Reed

University of California Press

This chapter is the most macroscopic in emphasis and deals with arenas in which the generation of usable policy-oriented knowledge has been the most problematic. The authors identify a social-science interest in economic growth from the eighteenth century, but focus on the post–World War II preoccupation with development. A parade of emphases are identified: modernization theory, dependency and world-system theory, neoliberalism, human capital, and institutions (social capital). Each approach is found wanting—in different ways—as “usable knowledge.” The authors identify the following foci of usability: the salience of particularistic groups and corruption in developmental process, differences in understandings about authority, and the place of responsive politics in development. The authors conclude with remarks on the “exportability of democracy.”

Keywords:   corruption, democracy and development, dependency theory, economic development, human capital, modernization theory, institutions, world-systems theory

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