Life Chances, Lifeworlds and a Rural Future

  • Jan Kees van Donge
Part of the Palgrave Development Studies Series book series (PDSS)


This chapter presents a modest piece of field work (a survey among primary school leavers in the Mgeta division, Uluguru mountains, Tanzania) which raises important questions about rational behaviour. The assumption of rationality in actors’ behaviour may be a hidden orthodoxy in much development discourse. For example, in the past decade there has been a resurgence in belief in the market; participatory procedures and bottom-up approaches are advocated in development planning, and there is a shift of attention from ‘scientific’ knowledge to local knowledge. These influential keywords all assume that local actors act with insight in their own situation in terms of strategic interests or goals which they want to realise. Such rationality may be distorted or hidden, but crucial to these approaches is a belief in an inherent rationality. There is often an implication that the role of development studies is to uncover such rationality which may be distorted by, for example, intervention in markets, oppressive social structures or a top-down development discourse.


Social Response Social Practice Wage Labour Life Chance School Leaver 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Development Studies Association 1996

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  • Jan Kees van Donge

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