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" Develop Yourself¡ Development according to the Rockefeller Foundation (1913-2013) "

Number of pages139
Master program titleMaster en histoire économique internationale
Defense date2023-08-28

The present mémoire aims to analyse the evolution of the development concept throughout the

Rockefeller Foundation’s first century of existence, utilising its annual reports. Drawing

inspiration from Moretti & Pestre’s influential working paper – ‘Banskpeak” – our

methodology consists of a two-fold approach. Firstly, we conducted a quantitative language

analysis of the language employed in the Rockefeller Foundation’s annual reports. Secondly,

building upon the outcomes of this initial quantitative analysis, we delved into the activities

and institutions in which the Foundation was involved to reconstruct its evolving development

concept, drawing insights from the field of New Intellectual History. This approach allowed us

to observe how the meaning of development evolved, accumulating new connotations over


We started our analysis at the beginning of the 20th century because – even though the

development concept was not formally coined until 1949 – the Foundation was already

involved in development activities and institutions before that date. Furthermore, this actor had

a set of ideas from the beginning of its activities that continued to influence its actions even

after the formalisation of the development concept. In this sense, we explored the significance

of the self-help ethic and market-oriented mentality in other spheres of development.

Consequently, we demonstrated that self-help had consistently played a pivotal role in the

Foundation’s development strategy since the Foundation’s inception. Furthermore, we

scrutinised the roles ascribed by the Foundation to various actors in the development process.

While the Foundation initially regarded the State as the primary actor in development, by the

study period’s end, new participants such as private companies, communities, and individuals

had become integral to this process.

  • Development
  • Rockefeller Foundation
  • 1913-2013
  • Moretti & Pestre’s
  • Banskpeak
Citation (ISO format)
LORENCI DE FRANCISCO, Ivan. ‘ Develop Yourself¡ Development according to the Rockefeller Foundation (1913-2013) ’. 2023.
Main files (1)
Master thesis
  • PID : unige:171391

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