This article seeks to contribute to the search for a distinctive "Oikos of Community and Ecology Perspective" by providing an overview of the main theoretical debates in Development Studies. "Development Studies" here is understood in the name sense of the social science "subdiscipline" that emerged to grapple with the phenomenon of the "new nations" and the problem of "underdevelopment" after the Second World War. For purposes of simplification, these diverse and complex debates shall be classified under two broad theoretical traditions: "Liberal" and "Marxist." Under the general "Liberal" heading shall fall the debate between Development Economics and neoclassical Economics. The latter heading shall include the debate between classical Marxism and neo-Marxism It is quite apparent that the emerging "Oikos Perspective" tends towards neither of these two main theoretical traditions in the development debate. Its analysis is more informed by what social scientists have called variously the "populist," "nonnative," "Counterpoint" or 'living economics" tradition in development theory which has origins quite distinct from either Liberalism or Marxism (e.g., see Hettne 1990; Kitching 1989; Ekins and Max-Neef 1992). In order to appreciate more fully where the Oikos position is implicitly coming from and thus to recognize its possible strengths and weaknesses as an analytical framework,this tradition has to be viewed more closely. At the same time, it shall also be noted that some of the themes of the "third tradition" find echoes in both the "Liberal" and "Marxist" debates. More particularly, it shall be pointed out that much re cent Marxist and "structuralist" analyses have been open to insights such as those which emphasize "decentralization," "participation," "community' and "ecology" concepts which have always been at the heart of the populist vocabulary. Similarly, it can be asked to what extent the populist vision is sufficient both as theory and policy and whether it can be enriched by insights coming from both the Liberal and Marxist traditions. Perhaps, ultimately, a crucial question that must be posed is whether the "Oikos Perspective" necessarily implies the adoption of populism or environmentalism as its main theoretical standpoint or whether the concern for "community" and "ecology" can be also consistent with the continued use of Liberal (though certainly not neoliberal) or Marxist (albeit more revisionist) standpoints, but enriched by counterpoint themes.
Tolosa, B. (1996). Development Studies and the Oikos Perspective. Philippine Studies, 44(2), 208-222.