Monday, May 17, 2021

The idea of ethno-development

 The idea of ethno-development

Ethnodevelopment is the means of countering ethnocide by enabling ethnic, minority, and/or exploited groups to revive values of their specific culture with a focus on strengthening their ability to resist exploitation and oppression and especially, their independent decision-making power through more effective control of the political, economic, social, and cultural processes affecting their development. Ethnodevelopment is a policy established in response to ethnocide, where indigenous cultures and ways of life are being lost due to large-scale development and exploitation in certain developing countries around the world. This large-scale development could include urban development in rural communities and exploitation of natural resources including building dams, mines, or clear-cutting forests. Typically self-led ethnodevelopment is favoured, where the indigenous peoples are involved in creating a plan for their future development and organization of communities in a way that follows their tradition beliefs and customs.

Outside intervention on indigenous minorities can have devastating effects. The effects include the growth of the more dominant society and encroachment on the traditional lands and subsequent displacement of peoples from resource rich land to the peripheries; the destruction of normal means of livelihood and interactions with habitat; an increase in trade debts and a decline in self-governance due to new political, legal and educational systems and the deterioration of traditional religious and cultural values.

The most common responses to the effects have been to retreat or assimilate, which can lead to extreme poverty, welfare requirements, social dislocation, alcoholism, and prostitution. Ethnodevelopment is proposed to end the increasing vulnerability of minority groups and produce a degree of economic, social, and political equality. One of the first steps in overcoming these trends is to reverse the notions about dominant Western developmental models and recognize the variability in traditional cultures, practices and values these populations have. The emergence of Neoliberalism in developing countries instigated a reduction of subsidies, and fiscal cutbacks that most indigenous and rural livelihoods were based on. In many Latin American countries with large populations of indigenous peoples such as Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico, and Guatemala, the elimination of rural development programs in the 1980s and 1990s provided an incentive for indigenous outcry and protestations.

Davis’s vision built on positive qualities of indigenous societies, such as ethnic identity and capacity to mobilize labor, capital, and other resources for shared goals. Davis maintained that development involving indigenous peoples must be built “upon the cultural strengths of the indigenous populations…[and] entail their active participation”. He favored programs that aimed at “enhancing the ability of the indigenous organizations to design their own development strategies and formulate their own development projects”.

a)               From economic growth to human development The growth of colonial economics of development has generated dependencies of colonial countries on their rulers. The colonial rulers are mainly the European countries. It has been experienced that such dependencies has not created any environment of proper industrialisation in the colonial countries, although some development has been taken place in the interest of colonial rulers. In the name of the development the European or colonial countries have destroyed native manufactures as found in case of textile manufacturing in India and sabotage efforts at industrialisation in Egypt, Turkey and Persia.

b)           Sustainable development Sustainable development needs development approach from within the community. Earlier it was felt that technological and capital transfer from other countries would bring development. This has been gradually found ineffective in continuity of development process of society. Groups of scholars believe that to make the development sustainable there should be participatory and community based programme. The development approach should be identified by the local people themselves on the basis of their own needs. The designing and the implementation of the project principles and techniques suited to the local people are developed with the help of local people from whom the development planning is being designed. Since it is the development for the people the development process essentially depends on people’s participation. Development cannot be successfully imposed on a society from outside. The sustainable development put stress on the participatory aspects of the local people on decision making process that affects their lives. The people for whom development programme has been adopted must take part in planning and the execution of every aspects of the programme. 

c)           Culture consideration in development During the colonial period colonised societies have tended to modernise themselves for their own development. They have tried to adopt the attributes of modern societies, i.e., their colonial rulers. Therefore, modernisation and development mean westernisation of colonised societies and culture. The process has established strong trend in social transformation. But this approach and belief have started to decline along with development of colony-free national culture. Culture has gradually become a part of development studies. Along with the World Commission on Culture and Development in 1996 there has been increase of importance of the cultural dimensions and development. Now culture is not considered as an obstacle to the development process, rather as influential factor for development of a society. 

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