Understanding Impoverishment: The Consequences of Development-Induced Displacement

By Christopher McDowell | Go to book overview

potential ray of hope for planning a future following displacement. The methodology might adapt techniques used to study 'attachment to space' to the analysis to understand the social geometric matrix of time/space/person. Likely remodelling candidates for creative adaptation are spatial memory studies, environmental autobiographies, role playing, behavioural mapping and favouriteplace analysis, as well as more formal ethnographic methods.

Theory building. Much work remains to refine the theory of social geometries, starting with a synthesis of more than a century of insightful intellectual efforts to understand spatial-temporal organisation which is dispersed throughout many disciplines.

Open dialogues. Awareness of the social impoverishment problem may increase by encouraging in-house discussions and workshops within development agencies and non-governmental organisations. Those to be displaced must also be provided with an opportunity to examine and search for ways to protect what might be heretofore hidden dimensions of their culture.

Refinement of operational indicators for project performance. Social impoverishment indicators of spatial-temporal disruptions should provide 'early warnings' of more serious social and economic dysfunction in a displaced population. Development and monitoring of social-geometric indicators may be injected into project cycles. This would include explicit recognition of the threat of social impoverishment and planning for its mitigation. At minimum, operations would include pre-resettlement social geometry surveys and plans to mitigate social impoverishment in culturally acceptable ways, with full participation of members of the affected population in both the initial study and the reconstruction.

Determination of rates of return. It is highly probable that minimising social impoverishment and economic impoverishment are mutually reinforcing actions. A review might be undertaken to determine if the rates of return of projects which resolved sociotemporal disruptions were higher than the rates of return of those that did not, in a fashion comparable to the classic World Bank study by Kottak ( 1991).


Conclusion

Each year, another ten million people become involuntarily displaced and risk social impoverishment ( World Bank 1994a). Social

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