Development has been among the most contested terminologies in the field of politics, sociology and economics over the last two to three centuries. Development is a concept with diverse view across the world and among different scholars, mainly because of its widely changing conceptualization and lack of unified and internationally accepted standards used to measure development across countries and organizations. From the early 18th to the middle of the 20th centuries, conceptualization of development was in line with the colonial objective of the north during which development was believed to be a social shift that dictate the people of the south to abandon their ancestral culture, norms and values to accept the Eurocentric one to gain the status of developed or developing. In the middle of 20th century, the concept was further sophisticated by the emergence of development theory which put a ladder for every country to climb to reach the level of development required by the European power. This paper attempts to outshine the changing and widening conceptualization of development concepts over the centuries, particularly paying close attention to social and cultural aspects of development. And how these changes affected the economic and social recovery of African society after the continent secured the political liberation in the second half of the 20th century. In addition, this article indicated that development has lost its traditional Eurocentric conceptualisation over the last three centuries, and more focused on the need of the people receiving development goal.
Key words: Development, change and continuity, social, cultural, Africa.
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