Sociology of development: sociology, development studies or already dead?
The term »sociology of development« refers to the existence of a more or less clearly defined sociological sub-discipline which emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. The sociology of development increasingly became a part of the interdisciplinary field of development studies, which for a long time was caught up in the debate on the »grand theories« of modernisation and dependency. Exhausted by this theoretical debate which did not reach a conclusion, sociologists working on the Global South re-invented the sociology of development in the 1980s with an »empirical turn«. However, the discussion on postdevelopment started at the same time, and this critical view was later supported by postcolonialism. Sociologists working on the Global South participated in all these debates and quite a few became outspoken critics of the development concept, while others still carry the flag of sociology of development against all odds. This leads to the question whether the sociology of development still exists as a sub-discipline, or whether there are just a few institutional artefacts left, such as sections in sociological associations, which provide a playground for elderly scholars who still live and work in yesterday's world.