From a purely theoretical perspective, this article explored the concept of reform which is usually taken for granted. It built a typology of the concept in terms of content, context, scope, cause, strategies, actors, outcome, etc. with the simple objective of providing a suitable conceptual framework for evaluating social, economic and political reforms in an operationally useful manner. Using this typology, the article explored the dynamics of the reform processes with special attention on developing parts of the world. Noting that reform is basically a process and using the theory of dialectics, the article posited that every reform outcome, is a temporary antecedent and argued that the duration of the “cease-fire” before the resumption of hostilities between the societal forces and the nature of the renewed “hostilities” is dependent on the relative extent to which the constitutive elements and conditions for successful reform are available in any given context. It x-rayed these constitutive elements and conditions. Narrowing down on the structural elasticity of democracy, the article concluded that reform of whatever type and democratisation cannot be separated, and that, reforms within democratic regimes are more successful.
Key words: Third world, reform, democracy, dialectics.
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