Communities and Development
What else is development other than helping your hometown?
This comment reflects and synthesizes the central issues of this book. 1 First, it raises the question of what a community is. Is it the place where one lives, or is it a place to which one has connections because it is the hometown? In the context of high mobility, how is a community formed, maintained, and understood? What are the implications for individual identity and for social action? Does everyone in the hometown understand their connections and obligations to it in the same way? If not, what are the divisions within such communities, and how do people shape their actions in terms of their own status and situation? Second, the statement raises the issue of what development is. Who defines development? What do they mean by the term? When people in Yoruba communities discuss their own commitment to self-help, does this mean something similar to the social scientist's concepts of indigenous development or “development from within”? How do people set out to achieve development, and what are the problems they encounter?
Beyond these two fundamental sets of questions, the quote also draws attention to broader issues. In the context of social, economic, and political change, it leads us to ask questions about an emphasis on “the home, ” on specific locales and attachments. What are the implications of such attachments to locale, to place, especially one that is usually defined by ethnicity? With the multitude of organizations associated with such places, what are the implications for civil society and for the idea of citizenship? Are hometown organizations a key locus for voluntary action and hence an important part of civil society? Or does their ethnic and regional base only reinforce societal divisions and mitigate against the formation of other sorts