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Social Development

Social Development
Theory and Practice

November 2013 | 296 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Walking through social development’s key theoretical principles and practice strategies, this book shows how it promotes peoples’ wellbeing not only in the Global South, where it first emerged, but in the Western countries as well. It covers:

  • Definitions and an historical evolution of social development
  • Key theoretical debates around social well-being, human rights and social justice
  • Social development practice such as human capital interventions, community development and cooperatives, asset building, employment creation policies and programmes, microenterprises and social planning among others
  • Future challenges; global poverty, international aid and trade, and global inequality, conflict and injustice.

Complete with international examples drawn from around the world, Social Development: Theory and Practice demonstrates how social development theory translates into practical application.

This book is essential reading for students in development studies, social policy, public administration and social work, and for policymakers and development practitioners everywhere.

James Midgley is the Harry and Riva Specht Professor of Public Social Services at the School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley.


1. Defining Social Development
Approaches to Definition

Towards a Definition

2. The History of Social Development
The Idea of Development

The Critique of the Standard Model

The Origins of Social Development Practice

The Role of the International Agencies

Reactions against Statism and the Renewal of Social Development

Reinvigorating and Redefining Social Development

3. Theoretical Debates and the Social Development Process
The Original Condition

The Goals of Social Development

Change, Progress and Intervention

Normative Perspectives

4. Theoretical Principles of Social Development Practice
Social Development Practice

Features of Social Development Practice

The Practice Strategies

Agents, Levels and Organisations

Assesing Practice Outcomes

5. Investments in Skills and Knowledge: The Role of Human Capital
Human Capital in Historical Context

Types of Human Capital

Childcare and Early Childhood Interventions

Formal Education: Schools and Universities

Popular Education, Health and Nutrition

Issues of Human Capital and Social Development

6. Social Capital, Communities and Social Development
Historical Dimensions

Social Capital and Community Development

Activism and Community Action

Community Building and Community Development

Community Economic Development

Community Development and Social Development

7. Promoting Decent Work and Employment: Policies and Investments
The History of Employment and Employment Policy

Key Programmes and Policies

The Macroeconomic Policy Framework

Employment Projects and Programmes

Employment Policy and Decent Work

Challenges and Opportunities

8. Microenterprise, Microfinance and Social Development
The Evolution of Microenterprise and Microfinance

Features of Microenterprise and Microfinance

Types of Microenterprise

Grameen Bank II and the Commercialisation of Microfinance

Microenterprise, Poverty and Social Development

9. Assets and Social Development
Asset Building in Historical Context

The Nature of Assets and Asset Building

Financial Assets for Individuals and Households

Community Development and Community-Owned Assets

National Assets, Trusts and the State

The Role of Assets in Social Development

10. Social Protection as a Social Development Strategy
The History of Social Protection

The Features of Social Protection

Varieties of Social Protection

Poverty Alleviation Innnovations

Social Protection and Development: Challenges and Opportunities

11. Social Planning, Rights and Social Development
Social Planning's Historical Evolution

The Nature of Social Planning

Types of Social Planning

Planning, Targets and Rights

Problems and Prospects of Social Planning

12. The Agenda: Achieving Social Development
Social Development: Towards Institutional Structuralism

Theoretical Roots

Implementing Managed Pluralism

Barrier and Challenges

Opportunity, Power and Struggle


Useful introduction to key concepts and history of social development theory and practice for students.

Ms Roma Thomas
Health & Social Sciences, Educ. Ctr., Bedfordshire Univ.
September 19, 2014

Excellent journey through key theoretical approaches and the practice of social development in its various forms. Draws the many threads informing the debate into a cohesive whole.

Ms Shan Ashton
Lifelong Learning, Bangor Univ.
July 4, 2014

Excellent book to gain an understanding of theory and practice

Julia Hope
Social Policy, Sociology & Social Rsch, Univ. of Kent
April 22, 2014

A strong text, written in a clear and concise manner for students. Key theoretical concepts introduced and explored to provide a good foundation for Health & Social Wellbeing students.

Mr Peter Leadbetter
Faculty of Health, Edge Hill University
April 3, 2014

Once again James Midgley provides an interesting book on Social Development. I have found the book particularly helpful in dealing with the relationship between social policy and economic policy.

Dr Bridget Ng'andu
Social Work, Ruskin College Oxford
March 19, 2014

A thorough and insightful book which will be useful for dissertation students interested in this area.

Mr Luke Champion
Education , Manchester Metropolitan University
February 12, 2014

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One: Defining Social Development

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781412947787

ISBN: 9781412947770

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