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  Intrinsic to current Western ideas of development are notions of economic growth, socioeconomic transformation and modernization, all of which are associated with the wealthy industrialized nations. Development in this sense is as old as the expansion of Europe, under which imperialism created unequal economic relations between colonial and colonized nations. In order for there to be developed countries, there must be those considered in a state of underdevelopment.

Development is one of the few fields for applied anthropology. Anthropologists often participate in aid programmes, looking at the way specific projects affect and alter the lives of the recipients. Basing their views on field work in the community, or on their general understanding of how small-scale communities work, anthropologists can often contribute detailed knowledge of social relations something which development planners lack. The anthropologist\'s role is thus to act as mediator between developers and developees, with the goal of modifying the project to meet local needs or aspirations in as favourable way as possible.

Anthropologists have also looked at indigenous technical knowledge: practical knowledge about favourable conditions, risks and limitations. This knowledge is often handed down orally through the generations, and may be overlooked by developers unduly focused on scientific and statistical objectives to the neglect of vital social and cultural factors. CL

See also economic anthropology; modernization; Westernization.Further reading Robert Chambers, Rural Development: Putting the Last First. , Mark Hobart, An Anthropological Critique of Ignorance: the Growth of Ignorance.



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