Lecture outline Oct 31 (redirected from
Lecture outline Oct 30)
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Rural and Urban Development
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Prof. Michael Bunce
Rural development – Selected issues and current approaches (Prof. Michael Bunce)
Area of current research: What are the issues small islands are facing in the face of climate
Overview of some of the problems of how we look at rural areas and problems and focus on
What is rural?
- What is rural is a very difficult question to answer. A lot of things are rural. There is a range
of rural situations. It is a challenge to determine what is rural and how to approach issues of rural
development. Degrees of the continuum between what we think is rural and urban is key to
determining how to think about development in rural areas.
- Scholars tend to take for granted what we consider rural to be.
- What are the defining characteristics for us? How do they affect how we think about rural
- There is great diversity in the geography (characteristics defined by the environment) of
rural places. There is a great diversity in resource endowments (e.g. Water available for
agriculture, forests, physical resources which enable a population to make a living) - Many rural societies have struggled because they are situated in areas that are poor in
resource endowment, or live in areas that are vulnerable to different natural hazards. There also
might be population pressures. These differences play a big role in determining how people live
- Another difference- how people make a livelihood? Target for development- how people
can achieve a sustainable livelihood.
- Agriculture as a predominant source of livelihood in rural areas? That has changed because
agriculture has not been able to provide a growing rural population with an adequate income as
families grow. One of the reasons is that as families grow there is more pressure on the resources
(limitation imposed by agriculture)
- Rural people seek additional source to make a livelihood such as immigration (moving to a
city or another country to work and sending remittance to their home village), they can also labor
on another farm, and they may work in tourism. There are all sorts of changes that diversify
livelihood away from agriculture.
- Many rural areas are quite well off and are able to diversify into other sources of income.
We have to be careful not to generalize about the socio-economic conditions in rural regions.
There are a lot of factors such as gender relations, class structures, land tenure - one of the most
important constraints on development in terms of equal opportunities for men and women or for
different people within the class structure (how much access people have to land depending on
their social condition)
- Rural communities are not necessarily isolated from all of the changes that are occurring
under globalization. In particular agriculture is increasingly being sucked into the global markets
as well as rural markets in general as the search for raw materials are intensifying.
- The global food system is very important
- The land rush – investing in land by various institutions. When investors buy land and
contract the land for companies to produce for the commercial systems, local people are not able
to produce for themselves one of the largest problems. They are able to take land without
consent from local people.
- Oxfam- campaign against land grabbing
- 5 billion cell phones- great revolution in rural areas has been cell phone connection as it
takes years to lay phone lines. It has enabled people to set up more businesses. It has opened up
connections to urban economies, to the larger metropolitan societies, which connects things.
Connections are going to transform many rural areas. There is a greater mobility, rural people
often move across boundaries (they are transnational), to other cities.
Why rural development? - Why is there a subfield to development for rural areas? Development agencies often think
- Majority of poor are rural, rural poverty is endemic. Many small farmers that compete
against each other for the same resources, which is very problematic and leads to the
entrenchment of rural poverty.
- Central importance of agriculture and other resources set in rural areas for national
economies (national food security)
- Stemming tide of rural to urban migration
- Developing self-sustainable rural communities and economies
How to do rural development?
- We think of development as a project, an industry
- How rural development has changed?
- Table that traces shifts in rural development in the textbook
Recent shifts in thinking about development in general and rural development in particular
Rural community based development
- community empowerment (in order to be able to engage in their own development)
- proposed in order to challenge the top-down development model that proposes that technical
and scientific solutions, modernization will solve problems. The previous methods didn’t lead to
long-term change (Green revolution is an example of a failure)
- What are the problems with community-based development?
Do people have enough power to influence government?
Problems about the term community: the term community is a very slippery one, especially
when academics are utilizing it.
What is a community? What are the common interests? Determining the answers is
challenging. Mistakes have been made due to a failure to determine whether there is are common
- There are many power relations within communities, hierarchies, separation between those that
own and those that don’t have land. Those without land tend to remain neglected.
- Are communities a collective, do they have common interests? Many rural communities are not
collectives, but are a collection of individual people. They are diverse and not a collective which
is a challenge for communities based development
Shift to participatory rural development
- Identify interests in communities - Outcome: development project with two goals: 1) involve people in the communities 2) use
outsiders (NGOs for ex) as advisers, but not controllers
- Shift from project to process
- Participation as a way of achieving greater level of being
- There are issues of motivation for involvement (Joseph Stieglitz: argues that if you are
going to pursue participatory rural development, you have to learn how to motivate people to
participate and thinking about development; how do you ensure fairness in making sure everyone
expresses their opinion)
- Who represents a family, community? Who gets a voice?
- Problem of capabilities: analyzing the capabilities of people to engage in development (can
they talk the language of development agencies)
- Is it just a neo-liberal agenda meant to individualize responsibility for development?
Argue that people should build their own business; take care of their own affairs through a
Prof. Raj Reddy
Urbanization and Development
- In 2009, we are told we became an urban century
- Western world is more urbanized than the global sou