The Sociology of Modernization and Development

The Sociology of Modernization and Development

The Sociology of Modernization and Development

The Sociology of Modernization and Development

Synopsis

"David Harrison writes very well, and presents a good, well-balanced and perceptive appraisal of current perspectives."--Times Higher Education Supplement

Excerpt

In the early 1970s, when I first carried out empirical research in the Caribbean, I spent almost a year and a half in a small Caribbean village. It had around 500 inhabitants, 50 per cent of whom were under the age of 15, and its history had been dominated by the rise and fall of the cocoa industry of Trinidad, an industry which owed much of its success to the collective sweet tooth of generations of British children and the demand of British chocolate manufacturers for Trinidadian cocoa. When children's tastes changed, or when there were improvements in cocoa refining techniques, the villagers were crucially, sometimes cruelly, affected.

The villagers had also been influenced by the increased prosperity of a young Scot who, so the story goes, went to Trinidad in the 1860s with a few pounds in his pocket, and became one of the leading landowners and politicians in Trinidad. Many years later, his son was sent to Eton and was to become (when he left the Caribbean) one of the richest landowners in Scotland. Much of this wealth came from Trinidad, not just from the village and not just from cocoa, but his fortune was undoubtedly founded in the cocoa industry, and in land acquired, one way or another, from countless Trinidadian peasants.

By Western standards, the villagers were poor, and they were fully aware of their poverty. They lived 'behind God's back'. They wanted to do better and, if they were not young, they wanted their children or their grandchildren to better themselves: to be educated at grammar schools, to become teachers or nurses or, failing this, clerks or taxi drivers. Young people wanted and were encouraged to move to town to increase their prospects, not only

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