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Planned social change : Fijian participation in cattle development projects

Nation, John Robert

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There is a need to consider critically the growing popularity of projects as vehicles for development in the light of their frequent failure to achieve their stated objectives. The central question addressed by the study is: can projects funded by external aid donors circumvent the economic, social and political problems that hinder development within the national political framework of developing countries? This involves an enquiry into the relationship between bureaucratic authority...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorNation, John Robert
dc.date.accessioned2013-12-11T23:57:37Z
dc.identifier.otherb12420943
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/11079
dc.description.abstractThere is a need to consider critically the growing popularity of projects as vehicles for development in the light of their frequent failure to achieve their stated objectives. The central question addressed by the study is: can projects funded by external aid donors circumvent the economic, social and political problems that hinder development within the national political framework of developing countries? This involves an enquiry into the relationship between bureaucratic authority and traditional society, a relationship which is inherent in the project mode of development assistance. The particular significance of Fiji as a case study lies in the fact that it is a liberal democratic state which has retained a bureaucratic civil service and is, therefore, apparently an ideal environment for project implementation. The thesis examines in depth two aid-funded cattle projects, studying the contexts within which they were established and their progress through the various stages of the project cycle. Both projects were established with the explicit aim of expanding the participation of indigenous Fijians in the commercial economy. One (Uluisaivou) sought to achieve this goal through a communally owned ranch; the other (Yalavou) created individually owned farms. The comparison of the projects centres on the different ways in which project planners (including managers) have sought to control the direction of the projects while at the same time allowing for 'local participation', which recent studies have argued is the key to successful project outcome. Both projects made serious attempts to provide for local participation though the attempts were not matched by performance. At Uluisaivou a clear local majority on the corporation board could not overcome the difficulties created by the fact that whole conception of such a large communally owned enterprise run according to modern business principles was foreign to the local populace. At Yalavou, by contrast, a preimplementation phase during which landowners were able to make the project more fundamentally in accord with their wishes removed many, though not all, problems of participation, at least in the initial stages of the project. Consideration of the problems experienced in both projects suggests that the achievement of participation is the main problem rather than the solution to other problems. Moreover, the inevitably bureaucratic nature of the oversight of projects exercised by aid donors means that the most assiduous, on-going attention must be given to the various problems of participation; they are not susceptible to any single, once-and-for-all solution. Bureaucracies, which are attracted to 'final solutions' (such as replicable models for development) are also attracted to neat dichotomies, despite the many failures experienced as a result of the inability of dichotomies to capture the untidy complications of social reality. The communalism/individualism dichotomy, which characterized planning in colonial Fiji for so long, illustrates clearly both the fruitlessness and the inevitable attractions of dichotomies. In Western societies such dichotomies can be broken down through interaction between bureaucrats, political leaders and citizenry. In developing societies such interaction is not easy to achieve. The important role sociologists can play in project work is that of facilitating the interactive political process through which the interests of project participants can be articulated and incorporated into projects.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.titlePlanned social change : Fijian participation in cattle development projects
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorMay, R.J.
local.contributor.supervisorFisk, E.K.
dcterms.valid1983
local.description.notesSupervisors: Dr R.J. May and Mr E.K. Fisk. This thesis has been made available through exception 200AB to the Copyright Act.
local.description.refereedYes
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued1983
local.contributor.affiliationThe Australian National University
local.request.nameDigital Theses
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d74e8177ce93
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

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