Development of Underdevelopment or Underdevelopment of Development in China. ANDRE GUNDER FRANK. University of East Anglia. These comments are . The Development of Underdevelopment Andre Gunder Frank. Abstract. We cannot hope to formulate adequate development theory and. Frank, Andre Gunder (a) World Accumulation, New York: ( ) “The sociology of development and the underdevelopment of sociology.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. From the ‘Development of Underdevelopment’ to the ‘World System.

He had a fertile, incisive and critical mind. He was a most prolific and polemical social scientist. In total his output numbered over publica- tions in thirty languages, including dozens of books, over chapters in books and hundreds of articles.

He probably inherited this gift for writing from his novelist father, a well known socialist and pacifist, who fled Germany with his family in as devellpment Nazis consolidated power. Frank never wavered in his ethical and political commitment to social justice and human rights. He always spoke his mind and had a direct and honest underdevekopment in dealing with people which did not endear him to all.

But many respected him for that. His knowledge was encyclopaedic and he wrote on a vast array of topics, from Mexican agriculture to new social movements, from Latin American to Asian and East European affairs, from historical topics to contemporary political and economic issues, and much more. Frank was at his best when criticizing received wisdom and orthodox theories. His critical thinking appealed in particular to radical students, to all those inspired by the Cuban revolution and to liberation movements in the Third World.

His writing became extremely popular at the height of the student movement in the late s and the s.

He seemed to take great satisfaction from the influence of his work, as he carefully recorded all references to it, including the criticisms. While at school and university in the USA he called himself Andrew and I only recently discovered that his first name was originally Andreas.

He frequently updated the ever increasing list of his writings as well as those of others who made reference to his work. See, for example, Frank b and Chew and Denemark His engagement with critics can be followed, for example, in Frank Development and Change 36 6: Institute of Social Studies To avoid confusion he decided to drop the last letters of his original German name Frank, He added Gunder, the nickname given to him by his high school sports team, later in a self-deprecatory gesture.

While as a runner he may have lagged behind the field, as a thinker he was miles ahead. Frank may not have minded the Gundar label, but he did dispute some of the other labels attached to him. On more than one occasion he asserted that he had never claimed to be an orthodox, neo- or any underdsvelopment kind of Marxist. Nevertheless, he was certainly developmennt influenced by Marxist ideas and his denial was partly a response frannk those Marxist critics who faulted him for some weakness in what they interpreted as his Marxist analysis.

His travels to Latin America in the early s and his marriage to Marta Fuentes, a committed Chilean left-winger and feminist, certainly radicalized him further. While Baran certainly had a pre-eminent influence on his thinking, his decision to travel to Latin America in had a defining impact on his writings and politics.

He first taught at the University of Brasilia. On his travels through Latin America, including visits to Cuba, he met and interacted with key social scientists and political personalities.


In my view, Frank tends to underestimate the influence which Latin American thinkers had on his own intellectual development and in this sense he was quite self-centred. When quizzed by me on this point, he 2. See, for example, Laclau and Marini Be that as it may, the revolutionary upheavals in Latin America and elsewhere at that time certainly influenced him.

Many intellectuals expressed similar sentiments to his, when he wrote underdevepopment a preface: These essays were written to contribute devepopment the revolution in Latin America and the world, and they are collected here in the hope that they may help others to contribute more to the revolution than the author has been able to.

Most staff went into exile, some for the second or even third time in their lives. Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger, key figures of monetarism and neoliber- alism, were at Chicago University and helped shape their thinking and support their policies in Chile. Needless ahdre say Frank, who had received his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago inwas not infected with the neoliberal virus.

From his early years he had shown an independence of mind which remained a constant throughout his life. However, having been at Chicago and being acquainted with the key figures, Frank was in a good position to write a scathing and passionate critique of their involvement in the Chilean neo-liberal experiment Frank, His reputation as a radical thinker was further enhanced, especially among young sociologists and anthropologists, by his devastating critique of modernization theory, the dominant perspective within the sociology of development at the time.

In his b article, which underdrvelopment rejected by many mainstream journals and eventually published in a little known magazine of the University of Buffalo, he systematically critiques the main premises of the modernization thesis made by such prominent figures as Talcott Parsons, Bert Hoselitz, Wilbert Moore, Everret Hagen, Daniel Lerner, David McClelland and Walt Whitman Rostow, among others.

Devslopment took them to task for their dualism, challenging undervevelopment thesis underdecelopment the now devel- oped societies were once underdeveloped and that underdevelopment is the original stage of what are supposedly traditional societies. He also criticized their diffusionist thesis according to which the underdeveloped countries with their debelopment societies would gradually become developed and modern countries by engaging with the developed capitalist economies and modern societies.

For Frank those linkages between the developed frankk underdeveloped countries were not the solution but the problem, per- petuating the underdevelopment of the latter.

Andre Gunder Frank

Thus he turned moderniza- tion theory on its head and opened the way for new analyses of the relationships between developed and underdeveloped countries. Developmennt many of the critiques of dependency theory in the Lf world were actually misplaced. By embracing the world system theory and adopting the global system as the unit of analysis, Frank avoided such a pitfall and the associated internal—external determination problematique. Marta Fuentes, his companion until her premature death inwas certainly familiar with all his writings and Frank valued her opinion.

From the mids onwards Frank was concerned with the historical processes of capital accumulation, first in Latin America and later in other regions, principally Asia, which he always placed within the global context. He was one of the main founders of world system theory together with Immanuel Wallerstein, Samir Amin and Giovanni Arrighi.

Indeed Frank can be considered as the world system theorist par excellence given his many writings on world accumulation.

Andre Gunder Frank – Wikipedia

His viewpoint on the possibility of autonomous develop- ment in the South changed underdeveloppment. Thus he reflected many years later that: The importance of the central theme of the world economy and of its interdependence. What has changed is my belief, which was largely implicit in the idea of dependence, that a state of independence, or at least non-dependence, developmenr be achieved through de-linking from the world economy through concerted political actions in the Third World countries or regions.


On this last issue, I suppose I have changed the most, especially since the coup in Chile. Experience has shown it to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for voluntarist political action to de-link particular countries from world economy. While at Amsterdam he was invited on more than one occasion to give a seminar at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. By his views on the new social movements had become more appreciative, although he still pointed out their limitations.

His ambivalence towards Marxism remained: I want to be practical. To be practical we should look to see where the action is. Where is the action today? There is a vast activity among these social move- ments, which someone has compared to termites.

Each has no power on its own, but an army of termites is often able to completely eat through the essential structure of a building 3. For some of his writings on world capital accumulation, see Frank,and What is notable about these social movements is that very few of them. Instead of capturing state power, they seek to carve out for their members a different kind of social existence within the possibilities that are offered to them.

Many of these social movements are more defensive than offensive. Global Economy in the Asian Age, published inthirty years after his path breaking book on Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America.

His canvas was indeed the whole world and his analysis was long-term, going back as far as if not earlier. In ReOrient, Frank — in typical Frankian fashion — turns the Eurocentric view of the world economy on its head by arguing that Asia was at the centre of the world economy centuries before the industrial revolution and the rise of the West, thereby challenging the views of Marx, Weber, Polanyi, Rostow, Braudel and Wallerstein, among others.

Needless to say, ReOrient, like his first book and the rest of his work, sparked many con- troversies among Marxists, non-Marxists and anti-Marxists. His writings were an encouragement to all those who wanted to transform the world, and his oeuvre will continue to inspire many generations to come. Denemark eds The Underdevelopment of Development: Essays in Honour of Andre Gunder Frank. Historical Studies of Chile and Brazil.

Essays on the Development of Underdevelopment and the Immediate Enemy. Equilibrium on the Point of a Bayonet. Essays on Dependence and Reformism. Essays in Honour of Andre Gunder Frank, pp. Global Economy in the Asian Age. University of California Press. Gills eds The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand? London and New York: Available online at http: Some of his past research has been on Latin American theories of development and underdevelop- ment.

His current research centres on rural poverty in Latin America. Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link. Click here to sign up. Help Center Find new research papers in: