As time marches by, we are occasionally inclined to look back at the trajectory followed and trace the sequence of steps taken so far. Finalization of the present volume seems a suitable moment for such an exercise. After all, a retrospect on successive engagements in development research as reflected in this book must consider the ways in which one’s personal history and interests have shaped one’s scholarly pursuits, and vice versa. However, there is a caveat. If today there is an area broadly identifiable as ‘development studies’, some half-a-century ago, such a field of studies did not exist. At the time there was nothing of the sort that one could go and study, enrol for at universities or other places. In the past 50 years, ‘development studies’ has had a life of its own, coming into existence out of a mixed array of origins and tributaries. These would be mainly from other branches of social sciences which had seen the light before, such as economics, social anthropology and political science with an orientation towards societies and economies in ‘backward’ regions. Notions of ‘development’ were hardly in vogue then, except in some specialized scholarly circles focused on post-World War II rebuilding of the Balkans, for example (Mandelbaum 1945). In a way, the same applies to the students and practitioners of development studies themselves. They too had to be formed and reconstituted out of a mix of different components.
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