Original Research - Special Collection: Engaging Development

Why cannot the term development just be dropped altogether? Some reflections on the concept of maturation as alternative to development discourse

Ernst M. Conradie
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3415 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3415 | © 2016 Ernst M. Conradie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 March 2016 | Published: 19 August 2016

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Ernst M. Conradie, Department of Religion and Theology, University of the Western Cape, South Africa

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This contribution is aimed at some provocation by questioning the basic assumptions ofcurrent development discourse (also in the context of religion and theology). It asks forconceptual clarification and differentiation on the meaning of various process terms. It needsto be recognised that the word development remains a metaphor than can indeed be extendedbut can also become over-extended and ossified. The concept of development is then contrastedwith the process of maturation. It is argued that the concept of maturation is, (1) better able toindicate the final goal of the process than most other process terms, (2) recognises inherentlimitations and (3) follows natural cycles better than exponential growth, sustaineddevelopment or endless progress.


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