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A Defunct Concept?


Ramashray Roy

POLITICAL DEVELOPMENT: A CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE
By Daya Krishna
Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1979, pp. 207, Rs. 60.00

VOLUME IV NUMBER 3 November/December 1979

This book is yet another contribution of Professor Daya Krishna to theoretical perspectives on social sciences. Daya Krishna takes up for treatment a much discussed and thrashed-out issue in political science—the concept of politi­cal development. This is a concept that has provided considerable stimulation to many social scientists to think and write. Daya Krishna subjects this concept to a systematic radiological test, examines in detail and with immeasurable patience its skeletal structure, and pronounces with all seriousness and professional severity the concept dead. It is true that the con­cept of political development as pro­pounded by the adherents of the Durk­sonian School rose like a meteor in the firmament of social sciences, remained regnant for more than a decade, and disintegrated under the weight of its own inconsistencies and the blind ethnocen­tricism of its proponents more than a decade ago. However, even so late it is good to have an official verdict and cer­tificate to bury the· dead. Daya Krishna is systematic in his postmortem. Recognizing that ‘the concept of political development has become the central pivot around which most of the recent thought in political science tends to organize itself’, Daya Krishna feels the necessity of separating the questions with respect of political development from the larger questions of development in general and from development in other domains in particular. He then sets out to examine ‘in detail the explications of the concept of political development and the criteria suggested for assessing and measuring it in diverse ways’. The explications of the concept of political development that Daya Krishna proceeds to evaluate refer to some of the very basic and important elements in the conceptual baggage of political scientists writing in recent years. These elements pertain to attributes of both individuals and social and political system. To be precise, these elements are: Participation, differentiation, interest articulation, interest aggregation, rule-making, rule-­application, rule-adjudication, political culture, political socialization and politi­cal communication. Daya Krishna takes each of these elements singly and builds up a powerful analytical searchlight that exposes and magnifies the ambiguities, the obscurities, the inconsistencies, the logical pitfalls and the cultural and ideological snares inherent in these ele­ments. Space does not permit us to dis­cuss in detail the analytical onslaught Daya Krishna makes on the weak spots in the conceptual delineation of the term ‘development’ and its constituent ele­ments. He ...


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