Narrative of Development

Mia Kristensen, Peter Rosendahl Dam & Herminia Marbunda Lindberg

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


In 1957, Ghana gained its independence from their former colonial ruler, the United Kingdom. Through the last 20 years, Ghana have experienced relatively political and economic stability. The United Kingdom provides development aid to Ghana: Development funds are sent annually, and with them come conditions to which the Ghanaian government must agree to receive the funds. In addition, the Ghanaian government must negotiate development with the British in English. Both governments have formulated development strategies for the upcoming years. These documents contain their aspirations, visions, how they plan to distribute the funds, and more. This project investigates whether the narratives of the development plans that the UK has for Ghana, and the plan that Ghana has for its development, are aligned with each other, and whether they resemble the main tenets of Modernisation Theory or Dependency Theory. These theories are contradictory in the sense that Modernisation Theory has a Eurocentric worldview on development, puts much focus on modernity and is formulated mainly by Western thinkers, whilst dependency theory is a critique of this way of uni-sizing development, it tries to take a much larger historical context into account, and the contributors to the theory has a more diverse roster. We have utilised an interpretivist approach in the project, using qualitative data consisting of official statements from both countries concerning their development plans. These have not been interpreted using our chosen theories in their entirety; rather we have used software to search for words and concepts that are central to either theory, such as ‘education’, ‘wealth’, ‘depend’, ‘modern’, and so on. We found that the two countries seemed to be more aligned from a modernisation point of view, both when comparing their language and their goals, than from a dependency theory point of view. However, even though they were more in line with modernisation theory, dependency theory provides good explanation why this may indicate an exploitative relationship, where one or several wealthy countries trap less developed countries in a relationship that is economically advantageous for the former and detrimental for the latter. The latter becomes dependent on development aid; a method which, dependency theorists would argue, serves the already wealthy nations to steer the discourse of development in a direction that masks the real relationship. The analysis reveals a strong alignment between the two countries and modernisation theory. Using dependency theory to explain this, the reason for the alignment is a hidden dependency that is not in the narratives, but hidden underneath it.

UddannelserBasis - International Samfundsvidenskabelig Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato18 dec. 2013
VejledereMette Fog Olwig


  • Narrative
  • Modernisation theory
  • Dependency theory
  • Development
  • Ghana
  • The UK