Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Ralph Matthews




The Modernization theory, which since the 1950's has remained a major framework of analysis of the problems of Third world societies, provides no explanation of underdevelopment per se. The core idea in Modernization is that underdevelopment in the Third World can be avoided through the development of capitalistic type of societies. But this significant assertion is not backed by any systematic analysis of the structure and dynamism of the system of capitalism itself. The Modernization theory has failed to integrate an analysis of underdevelopment within its explanatory domain because of its theoretical reliance on the ahistorical assumptions of the Structural-Functional model. The Dependency theory, on the other hand, by looking at the historical development of capitalism as a world system and attempting to locate some of the structural contradictions of capitalism as a system of economy, has opened up some significant possibilities for developing theories about underdevelopment. By making capitalism as a referent point of analysis, the Dependency theory has made it possible to look at development as a dynamic process and underdevelopment as a problem of transition between pre-capitalist and capitalist societies. Our study of colonial Bengal suggests that the assumptions of the Dependency theory have greater explanatory power.

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