Anthropology and development planning, with special reference to a large-scale agricultural project in Sudan
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This thesis is concerned with rural development in Nuba peasant communities of the Southern Kordofan region, Sudan. Peasants have always been considered by planners as scapegoats for the failure of state-designed rural development schemes in Third World societies. This plainly does not grasp the cause of such failure. The thesis argues against both the practice and theoretical foundations on which rural development planning is based. The author maintains that empirical investigation at the grassroots level is badly needed to fully grasp and explain the total situation of the indigenous communities and their forms of organisation. The author singles out one Nuba peasant society located at Habila, where rural development is currently underway; he examines the roots of the failure of the state-initiated Habila scheme to arouse the popular participation of the poor Nuba peasants. The Nuba are primarily subsistence farmers cultivating dura, cotton, sesame, tobacco and vegetables. The majority have professed Islam, though a few are still Pagans and Christians. The thesis aims to bring to the foreground some of the socio-economic and cultural factors which have direct bearing on rural development. Underpinning the theoretical analysis are cultural and strategic perspectives relating to social action. Failure of economists to provide a sufficient explanation for the poor response of the Nuba peasants to the cooperative schemes of Habila has stimulated such perspectives which, the author contends, are badly needed for examining development situations at the level of the local community. The author concludes that the dissolution of the traditional forms of cooperation as a result of the commercialisation of the economy is mainly responsible for the failure of the Habila cooperative schemes to attract local peasants. But, ironically the scheme itself seems to perpetuate the same problems which it aims to mitigate, included here are the trends of labour migration and the ideology of consumerism.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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