People's practices : exploring contestation, counter-development, and rural livelihoods : ...cases from Muktinagar, Bangladesh

H. Huq

    Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

    Abstract

    <p>People's Practices: Exploring contestation, Counter - development, and rural livelihoods</p><p>The central problems explored in the thesis concern the vulnerability of disadvantaged local people, especially women, and their agency; development discourses and counter-development processes; livelihood strategies and local social, cultural, and economic changes especially they relate to the empowerment of women. The people of Muktinagar, a rural community in Gaibandha District in the northern part of Bangladesh, position and reposition themselves vis-à-vis development intervention and apply their capabilities and knowledgeabilities in the building of livelihoods practices and forms of empowerment. A key issue is to define how far development interventions imply control over the day to day lifeworlds of the local people.</p><p>The study aims to contribute to the debate on the negative impact of development interventions on people's lifeworlds. The thesis aims to capture the attention of anthropologists, sociologists, social researchers and development professionals, arguing for the importance of detailed empirical studies on people's livelihoods practices and processes of counter-development. It also aims to re-emphasise the importance of taking full account of people's knowledge, interests, needs, capabilities and discourses in day to day life, including the context of development policy and planning itself.</p><p>The thesis suggests that local, rural people, particularly in Bangladesh, want development inputs in order to support existing livelihood practices and interests, but not development interventions that seeks to control their lives.</p><p>The framework adopted is an actor-oriented one. This enables one to look at local people's experiences of planned intervention, as well as the ways in which they themselves go about making a living and resolving issues concerned with constructing an adequate livelihood and well-being. While the thesis addresses an academic audience, it also should be of value to development practitioners and NGO leaders alike.</p><p>The thesis provides a picture of rural development in Bangladesh and maps out the kinds of macro-policies and models that have predominated. It also explores the ways in which various development interventions designed by international development organisation such as the World Bank have impacted on people's lifeworlds and have determined the shape of national development programmes. It focuses on issues of vulnerability and empowerment, which embrace the complexities of lifeworlds of rural women in Bangladesh and identifies the cultural, social, economic, and political trends that have resulted in a range of vulnerabilities. The ethnographic presentation allows the reader an opportunity to learn about a remote rural community of Bangladesh where disadvantaged women engage in their own struggles for empowerment. It also elucidates issues concerning the nature of power and rights across generations, and how people struggle to cope with critical and other events and experiences that constrain their life chances in their effort to maintain their livelihoods.</p><p>It is argued in this book that individuals should not be seen in isolation from their social context and that individuals are socially conscious, reflexive, and capable of acting with others to rebuild the fabric of society. In other words, the argument takes a clear actor-oriented position. Through the study of the day-to-day lives of local people in Muktinagar, Bangladesh, we have been able to record the ways in which development intervention attempts to establish control by outsiders over the lifeworlds of local people. This generates coercive situations and personal dilemmas but, in the end, it is the social actors themselves who must, on the basis of their previous experiences and commitments, position themselves in relation to these ongoing intervention processes. Their success in managing such changed circumstances depends crucially upon their knowledgeabilities and capabilities, and especially their capacity to act collectively to protect their interests.</p><p>We need to support local people's practices as their path to resilience, and to leave rural livelihood processes firmly in local people's control.</p>
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    Supervisors/Advisors
    • Long, N.E., Promotor
    • Arce, A., Promotor, External person
    Award date6 Dec 2000
    Place of PublicationS.l.
    Print ISBNs9789058083272
    Publication statusPublished - 2000

    Keywords

    • development studies
    • rural development
    • rural communities
    • sociology
    • ethnography
    • development
    • sustainability
    • intervention
    • people
    • participation
    • economic growth
    • bangladesh

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