The Rationale of Common Property in the DevelopmentContext

Publication Year : 1992

Much of the debate on the modernisation of the common propertyregimes deals with the problem of the rationality of these regimes.Justification for the policy to be followed in planning change for sucharrangements is given according to the divergent view points ofdevelopment scientists on the subject This paper advocates rethinking ofsome of the fundamental concepts involved in the examination of thecontexts where external intervention is to take place for the purposesof development, if a meaningful inter-disciplinary approach todevelopment is to emerge. It invokes Godelier’s treatise on the historicand social logic of real, rather than formal rationality, to highlightthe bias inherent within, and limitedness of, the general understandingof the concept of formal rationality, or its focused, rather thanholistic treatment in socio-historic terms. The case of the Chaproteforest in the Nagar valley of Northern Pakistan is presented toillustrate the historical and cultural rationality of traditionalcommunal arrangements from the local consumption and conservation pointsof view, and the functioning of a logic within such arrangements whichis relative and specific to the context in question. The variancebetween the thrust of external intervention, and the local potentialsfor managing and exploiting local resources is thus emphasised. Somerecommendations for developing traditional regimes within the local andlarger socio-historical context are made in conclusion.

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