The Meta-Theory of Development
Development is the process of creating positive change in a country’s economic and social conditions. It involves improving the management of a country’s natural and human resources to increase wealth, improve life quality, reduce poverty and create opportunities for employment and income.
Development has become a multidisciplinary and increasingly complex topic, requiring theories, research methods and knowledge bases from many academic disciplines. It also requires a broad range of assumptions about the nature of human development and the way it unfolds from conception to death, which are called meta-theories.
One of the most dominant meta-theories in developmental science is the lifespan perspective (Baltes, 1987; Baltes, Lindenberger, & Staudinger, 2006). The lifespan approach views development as a process that is not defined by any single age period, but rather as an interwoven and continuous series of processes.
Another meta-theory is the mechanistic model of development, which sees people as machines that develop by changing their parts. This is similar to how a car is made up of components that are studied apart from the rest of the vehicle.
The development of a person is embedded in a number of societal and cultural contexts. This includes how and when the person was born, the family environment and culture, the social situation in which the person lives, and the cultural and political conditions of the community. The way in which a person is developed will also be influenced by their personal experiences, including how much and how well they learn and grow through childhood and adolescence.