The Demographic Determinants of "Successful" Village Cooperatives
The Pakistan Development Review, 1995, vol. 34, issue 4, 609-617
Worsley and his colleagues (1971) have drawn attention to the tendency in all traditional societies, to assume communal relations as `solidary' in nature. The structure of village cooperatives is presumed to reinforce the solidarity of those relations. Anthropological analyses, however, have illustrated that communal relations range from those that could be termed `solidary' to relations that are in direct conflict. The response of the local population to the changes introduced within the co-operative framework is therefore likely to be cross-culturally varied. Moreover, the demographic features of historically common conditions of a geographical area, it is argued, are also pertinent to the "success" that may be expected of village cooperatives with reference to their stated objectives. The strength and identity of the socio-economic groups inhabiting a given geographical region play a role in defining local response to the changes introduced and their likely outcome. The case of an NGO in the Frontier province of Pakistan, enables us to illustrate the disparity between the nature of communal relations and the composition and function of modern cooperatives, on the one hand; and the diversity in the ecological and physical conditions, as well as the strength and identity of the populations inhabiting different villages, which determine the dynamics of the interaction between the different sections of the population, on the other hand. The need is thus emphasised to provide for diversity in the "guiding principles" of development models to allow for pertinent differences (even within the same geographical area) in order to achieve the stated objectives.
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