Third World(redirected from 3rd World Country)
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See A. R. Kasdan, The Third World: A New Focus for Development (1973); E. Hermassi, The Third World Reassessed (1980); H. A. Reitsma and J. M. Kleinpenning, The Third World in Perspective (1985); J. Cole, Development and Underdevelopment (1987).
Third Worldcountries mainly found in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, many having been colonies until the mid-20th-century, and today manifesting lower levels of INDUSTRIALIZATION and general living standards than the advanced industrial countries.
The term was first used in the early 1950s and taken up by Third World political leaders engaged in independence movements against European COLONIALISM. It signified the positive idea that politically and economically their countries would develop in ways different both from the first world, Western Europe and the US, and the second world of the USSR and the Soviet Bloc. Subsequently, the term has become associated with negative aspects of poor living standards, great social inequality, economic stagnation and political instability such that many people living in these countries now resent the use of the term. Alternatives preferred by some authors include underdeveloped, NEOCOLONIAL, less developed countries (LDCs), oppressed nations, peripheral or nonaligned countries. The recent emergence of NEWLY INDUSTRIALIZING COUNTRIES alongside countries that are stagnating or becoming poorer (sometimes referred to as the FOURTH WORLD), and the further division between socialist and non-socialist countries have highlighted the issue of whether such a blanket term is useful for referring to such a diverse range of countries. However, the term still has wide social scientific and general usage. Various attempts have been made to distinguish the Third World both qualitatively and quantitatively (see Thomas et al., 1994), and Worsley (1984) has defended its utility. See also SOCIOLOGY OF DEVELOPMENT, DEPENDENCY, UNDERDEVELOPMENT, CENTRE AND PERIPHERY.
a term used in sociopolitical and scholarly literature to designate the developing countries.