This book is a concise and accessible introduction to development thinking, theory and practice and a critical analysis of the values that lie behind them. Hettne argues that schools of development thinking should be historically contextualized, not presented as evolving towards a universal theory. The book presents development as an essentially contested concept, that has meant a number of things at various times to different people in different places. Focusing on historical discourses from the initial colonial encounters through to the modern day, Hettne draws the connections between the enlightenment belief in progress through to the more recent focus on the Millennium Development Goals. The first volume in the "Development Matters" series, this book provides the key frame for the series as a whole.