AbstractMuch development theory is based upon elite-led conceptions of social change. Elite development theory (EDT) conceptualises ‘the poor’ as human inputs into or, at best, junior partners within eliteled development processes. This elitism contributes to the continual (re)framing of the poor as passive beneficiaries of elite policy, and legitimates economic exploitation of the poor. These claims are illustrated by discussing a number of EDT traditions – the Washington/Post-Washington Consensus, statist political economy, modernization Marxism and varieties of pro-poor growth. As an alternative to EDT the article argues for a conception and practice of ‘labour-centred development.
Selwyn, Benjamin (2015) Elite development theory: a labour-centred critique. Third World Quarterly. ISSN 0143-6597