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The Essential Hirschman$
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Albert O. Hirschman and Jeremy Adelman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159904

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159904.001.0001

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Underdevelopment, Obstacles to the Perception of Change, and Leadership

Underdevelopment, Obstacles to the Perception of Change, and Leadership

Chapter:
(p.35) Underdevelopment, Obstacles to the Perception of Change, and Leadership
Source:
The Essential Hirschman
Author(s):

Albert O. Hirschman

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691159904.003.0002

This chapter challenges the defeatism of Hirschman's friends and colleagues during the 1950s–1960s, when numerous political and social upheavals were happening worldwide. In this chapter, Hirschman explains that many of the so-called “structural causes”—a term advanced by his Latin American colleagues in the social sciences which refers to entrenched obstacles that make all efforts to change self-defeating—are ideological constructs. The chapter discusses two obstacles to the perception of change: the persistence of traits which are related to the “little traditions,” as well as the bias in the perception of cumulative change. It argues that the real, “stealthy” change that was actually occurring is being obscured in the process and the vital role of political and intellectual leadership is thus ignored.

Keywords:   underdevelopment, perception of change, political leadership, intellectual leadership, structural causes, little traditions, cumulative change, real change

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