Local Societies and Rural Development

Local Societies and Rural Development

Self-organization and Participatory Development in Asia

Edited by Shinichi Shigetomi and Ikuko Okamoto

The importance of community-based and participatory approaches to rural development in developing countries has long been emphasized. Rural people, who are economically and politically weak as individuals, can only participate in development projects when they are collectively organized. However, this is no easy task. This book aims to identify the mechanisms in each local society through which rural people can best organize themselves to meet their development requirements. It stresses the need to find local mechanisms that motivate and control the members of a new organization in order to achieve organizational goals.

Chapter 1: Local societies and rural people’s self-organizing activities: an analytical framework

Shinichi Shigetomi and Ikuko Okamoto

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, development studies, agricultural economics, asian development, development studies, environment, agricultural economics, urban and regional studies, regional studies


The importance of community-based and participatory approaches has been emphasized in rural development literature. Rural people, who as individuals are economically and politically weak, can only participate in development projects when they become collectively organized. Therefore, rural people’s organizational activities should be considered an indispensable element in participatory rural development. However, the tasks involved in organizing people are not easy. Frequently, organizations malfunction once development assistance agencies leave project sites. This suggests that the process involved in “making organizations” is not similar to the process involved in “making a system of making organizations” (Shigetomi 2011). The latter process is required to make local organizations spontaneous, sustainable, and transferrable. The main purpose of this volume is to identify the local mechanisms by which rural people organize themselves to meet their development needs. People create organizations because they expect to derive benefits from those organizations. However, economic opportunities and favorable resource endowments do not always ensure that expectations will be realized. Mechanisms must be instituted to motivate and control members of new organizations as they attempt to achieve organizational goals. This volume assumes that these types of mechanisms exist in local societies in which people relate to one another because they live in close geographic proximity and/or in the same administrative or social units.

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