The Development Process: A Grassroots Perspective

  • A. H. Somjee


Let us now examine certain nuances of the development process which have so far received scant attention as a result of premature attempts at theory construction in development studies. Owing to such attempts, not only has the plurality been ignored, but also the complexity of the unique mix of forces which contribute to particular instances of development. We shall illustrate this by taking into account various types of development initiatives: public, private, co-operative, and human self-rebuilding. To allow a closer look at all these, we shall examine them, as far as possible, from a grassroots perspective. With each of these initiatives, as we shall see in this chapter, several factors -cultural, economic, political, human and others-were involved. And regardless of where a development initiative came from, the process which it triggered off had its own unique mix and proportions of those factors. The awareness of such actualities in the development process ought to compel us to engage in a different kind of cognitive effort, by way of development theory, rather than remain anchored in the theoretical corpus developed by the segmented social sciences. And no matter how unprepared we are for such an undertaking, given the fragmented nature of the social science theoretical knowledge to which we are heir, we need to begin somewhere and must hope for an incremental improvement in the quality of our fresh cognitive effort.


Rural Community Development Theory Private Initiative Development Opportunity Public Initiative 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    J.M. Letiche, ‘Adam Smith and David Ricardo on Economic Growth’, in Bert Hoselitz (ed.), Theories of Economic Growth (London: Collier-Macmillan, 1960) pp. 65–70 passim.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid., p. 76.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Joseph J. Spengler, ‘John Stuart Mill on Economic Development’, in Bert Hoselitz (ed.), Theories of Economic Growth, p. 117.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ragnar Nurske, Problems of Capital Formation in Underdeveloped Countries, 10th impression (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966) p.1.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Robert Heilbrunner, The Worldly Philosophers (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1972) p. 14.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    M.N. Srinivas, Social Change in Modern India (Berkeley, California: California University Press, 1968) pp. 114–16.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See in this connection ‘An Emerging Political Society’, in A.H. Somjee, Democratic Process in A Developing Society (London: Macmillan, 1979) pp. 125–45.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Figures quoted by India News (courtesy The Hindu), July 1989.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    See for the details of this A.H. Somjee and Geeta Somjee ‘Cooperative Dairying and the Profiles of Social Change in India’, in Economic Development and Cultural Change, Chicago 1978.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    For the details of the establishment of Amul, see Geeta Somjee and A.H. Somjee, Reaching Out to the Poor.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    See in this connection John Empson, ‘Uneasy Flow of Third World Milk’, in Financial Times, 16 February 1989.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    The dilemma and the agony of Chaudhury women in switching from the mehsani to the cross-bred cows is recorded in Geeta Somjee’s Narrowing the Gender Gap (London: Macmillan, 1989) pp. 107–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    See for the details of méga milk economies of rural Mehsana, Geeta Somjee and A.H. Somjee, Reaching Out To The Poor.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    See for a detailed comparison of the performance in dairying of tribal villages with or without the Chaudhury population, ibid., pp. 125–32.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    See for details of this effort, ibid., pp. 72–81.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    See for details of this, ibid., pp. 81–104 and 136–47. Also see A.H. Somjee, Political Capacity in Developing Societies (London: Macmillan, 1982).Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    See for details of this process a longitudinal study by A.H. Somjee, Democracy and Political Change in Village India: A Case-Study.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    ‘Normative-Pragmatic Considerations in Political Involvement’, in A.H. Somjee, Political Society in Developing Countries, pp. 78–124.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© A.H. Somjee 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. H. Somjee
    • 1
  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityCanada

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