Why cannot the term development just be dropped altogether? Some reflections on the concept of maturation as alternative to development discourse

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This contribution is aimed at some provocation by questioning the basic assumptions of current development discourse (also in the context of religion and theology). It asks for conceptual clarification and differentiation on the meaning of various process terms. It needs to be recognised that the word development remains a metaphor than can indeed be extended but can also become over-extended and ossified. The concept of development is then contrasted with the process of maturation. It is argued that the concept of maturation is, (1) better able to indicate the final goal of the process than most other process terms, (2) recognises inherent limitations and (3) follows natural cycles better than exponential growth, sustained development or endless progress.