Lecture 1

Theories and Concepts in
Rural Development

How do we understand rural development?
How to develop?
What should be developed and for whom?
Concepts of Development
 At the end of WWII, United States became a formidable and
incessant productive machine and the center of the world.
 All the institutions created in those years, even the UN charter
echoed the US constitution.
 Americans wanted to consolidate their hegemony and make it
permenant and realized their purposes by conceiving a political
campaign at a global scale and a appropriate emblem to identify
the campaign.
 January 20, 1949 President Truman took office and opened a new
era of development by launching a bold new program for the
improvement and growth of “underdeveloped areas“  the
concept “underdevelopment“ came to exist and changed the
meaning of the term “development“.
Concepts of Development
 Orginally, development, in biology, describes a process through which
the potentialites of an object or organism are released, until reached its
natural, complete and full-fledged form.
 Between 1759 (Wolff ) and 1859 (Darwin), development evolved from a
conception of transformation towards the appropriate form of being to
a conception of transformation towards an ever more perfect form.
 In the last quarter of the 18th century, the biological metaphor of
development was transfered into the social sphere.
 Justus Moser (the conservative founder of social history), from 1768,
used the word Entwicklung to allude to the gradual process of social
 Towards 1800, entwicklung begane to appear as reflexive word. And a
few the decades later, development became the central category of
Marx´s work.
 The late of 18th century, development appeared in English, and some
time used as interchanged with evolution or growth.
 By the begining of the 20th century, the new use of the term became
widespread and connoted urban development and colonial
Concepts of Development
 Throughout the century, the meanings associated with urban
development and colonial development concurred with many
others to transform the word “development“ step by step, into
one with contours that are about as precise as those of an
amoeba and its meaning depends on the context in which it is
 Therefore, development cannot delink itself from the words with
which it was formed – growth, evolution, and maturation and
those who use the word cannot free themselves from the web of
meanings that impart a specific blindness to their language,
thought and action.
 Development always implies a favorable change, a step from the
simple to the complex, from the inferior to superior, from worse
to better.
Concepts of Development
 Since the Trumans statement, development was reduced to
economic growth and consisted simply of growth in the income
per person in economically underdeveloped areas (1950s).
 In the 1960s: The development thinking turned to pay attention
on integration of development by including both social and
economic aspects (the Proposals for Action of the First UN
Development Decade).
 In the 1970s: The integration of physical resources, technical
progress, economic and social change was recognized. Major
problems, like environment, population, hunger, women, habitat
or employment were brought sucessively to the forefront, but not
yet sovled because of dispute among bureaucratic bodies.
Concepts of Development
 In the 1970s (cont.):
 Development should not be to develop things but to develop
 Development requires of fundamental economic, social and
political changes
 Human – centered development
 Integrated development
 Endogenous development (recognizing different systems of
values and diverse cultures)
 In the 1990s: The birth of new development ethos.
Redefining Concept “Development”
 The past development efforts have achieved only short-lived
 Redevelopment – Sustainable development defined as
development that “meets the needs of the present generation
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet
their own needs (the 1987 report of the Brundtland
 Recently, the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document:
sustainable development as economic development, social
development, and environmental protection.
 The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversification (UNESCO
2001) includes cultural diversity as the fourth policy area of
sustainable development.
Concepts of Economic Development
 Economic development: the process of improving
the standards of living and well-being of
population of developing countries by raising per
capita income. This is usually achieved by an
increase in industralisation relative to reliance on
the agriculture sector (MIT Dictionary of Modern
Economics, 4th edition).

Concepts of the Rural
 There has not been yet a accurate definition about the rural
area that is widely recognized.
 Normally, the rural is defined as those areas which are not
urban in nature and distinguished from the urban by lower
levels of infrastructre development, commercial goods
production, and people´s livelihoods.
 Agricultural economists define: The rural is where in which
inhabitants are mostly (peasants) famers, low population
density, less developed infrastructure, low level of
education, less access to markets and public goods.
Concepts of the Rural
 Peculiarities of the rural:
 Dominated by farmers and agricultural production.
 Depending on the urban in many different aspects.
 Low levels of income, living standards, technological
innovation, democracy, and social equity as compared to that
of the urban area.
 Diversity in social, cultural, economic conditions,
development levels, management.
Peasants or Farmers in the Rural
 Peasants as communities rather than single individuals or
households consisdered as transition, markets and exchange,
subordination and internal differences .
 Peasant farm households as a family and enterprise:
- The economic unit of production and consumption
- The small scale farmer (kleinbauern)
- Production relies primarily on family labour
- Partially integrated into incomplete markets
- Engaging in multi - activties
- Land is often a source of securing the family livelihoods
- Maintaining the option to withdraw from the market and still survive.
- Subsistence-oriented livelihoods
 Farmers: the large scale agribusiness entrepreneur or modern
capitalist farmer (developed countries) or family farm enterprises
(developing countries).
Rural Poverty
 Nearly 75% of 1.3 billion world poor who subsist on $ 1 or
less per day live and work in rural areas.
 75% of the world 800 million underfed also live in rural
 Roughly 850 million people living in chronic hunger are
small farmers
 In spite of rapid urbanization, a majority of the world poor
and underfed will remain in rural areas and levels of
poverty are typically much deeper in rural areas

Rural Poverty
 The rural poor face enormous challenges: limited economic
opportunities, underdeveloped markets, less access to public
infrastructure and services, less able to engage in advocacy with
decision-makers, resource pressure and environment
 Rural poverty can also creates serious negative externalities on a
country’s metropolitan population.
 Rapid migratory flow to urban areas displace rural poverty to the
urban slums.
 Rural poverty contributes to exhaustion of underground water
reserves, desertification, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, and
climate change
Goals of Rural Development
 Small farmers play an important role in many
developing countries’ economy, helping farmers will
significantly increases economic growth potential.
 Fighting rural poverty:
1. Raising small farm productivity
2. Increasing in real income per capita
3. A fairer distribution of income
4. Improving access to resources
5. Improving and expanding rural services
6. Increasing in grass-root democracy
Goals of Rural Development
1. Raising small farm productivity:
 Why productivity remains low?
 Soil and water degradation, depletion and scarcity
 Lack of know-how and resources to used improved crop
 Inadequate agricultural extension services

Goals of Rural Development
 Conditions for improving farm productivity
 Improving roads, ennergy and communication
 Improving soil management and rehabilitation
 Improving small-scale water management
 Public and private investments for improving water
managment (strorage, harvesting, and use)
 Improving post harvest storage
 Improving crop varieties and livestock breeds
 Environmentally sustainable farming practices
 Effective subsidies
Goals of Rural Development
2. Raising farmer incomes:
 Better integration with markets (inputs and outputs)
 Better infrastructure, institutions, and access
• Better mechanism for income distribution

Goals of Rural Development
4. Improving access to resources: Good institutions
environment and well-defined property rights systems.
5. Improving and expanding rural services: Health,
education, energy, and communication
6. Increasing in grass-root democracy: bottom – up and real

Concepts of Rural Development
 Rural development (agricultural economists):
 Improving rural standards of living and well-being
 Achieved largely through increases in agricultural production,
output, and incomes
 In developing countries, this generally with small farms
 Sustainable rural development:
 Combining the improvement of economic and social living
conditions, focusing on a specific group of poor people in the rural
area with assuring a sustainable environment:
- Focusing on people (bottom – up approach)
- Multisectoral (integrated approach)
- Development with balance in environmental management

Four Dimensions of Rural Development
1. Political and Institutional
 Building community ownership
 Decentralizing and formalizing public participation –
principle of subsidiary
 Granting fair access to limited resources and opportunities
 Intelligent service system solutions
2. Socio-cultural
 Rediscovering/Building of local/regional identities
 Dealing with risks and distress (social security systems)

Four Dimensions of Rural Development
3. Economic
 Creating new (job) opportunities through diversification
 Value added in the locality/region
 Strengthening capacities to cope with markets
4. Ecological
 Managing natural resources in sustainable manner
 Cross – sectoral agreement on different types of use
Rural Development in Timeline
 1950s: Modernization, dual economy model, backward
agric., community development, lazy peasants
 1960s: Transformation approach, technology transfer,
mechanization agric. Extension, growth role of agric.,
green revolution (start), rational peasants
 1970s: Redistribution with growth, basic needs, integrated
rural dev., state agric. policies, state-led credit, urban bias,
induced innovation, green revolution (cont.), rural growth

Rural Development in Timeline
 1980s: Structural adjustment, free markets, getting prices
rights, retreat of the state, rise of NGOs, PRA, farming
system research, food security & famine analysis, RD as
process not product, women in dev., poverty alleviation
 1990s:Microcredit, participatory rural appraisal (PRA),
actor-oriented RD, stakeholder analysis, rural safe nets,
gender & devt. (GAD), environment and sustainability,
poverty reduction
 2000s: sustainable livelihoods, good governance,
decentralization, critique of participation, sector -wide
approaches, social protection, poverty eradication
Dominant and sequential themes in rural development
1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 1950s 1960s
Dominant Paradigms and Switches
Modernization, dual economy
Rising yields on efficient small farms
Process, participation, empowerment
SL Approach
Some sequential popular RD emphases
Community devt.
Small farm growth
Integrated rural devt.
Market liberalization
Framework for Rural Development
(Value system)
Cultural –
A Theoretical Framework for Economic Development (Hayami, 1997)
A Basis for Analyzing Economic Development
 Economic growth requires changes in social
organizations and value systems
 Need to understanding how changes in the
economy interact with institutions and cultures in
such a way as to support significant, sustainable
 A model of dialectic social development

A Framework for Rural Development
 Livelihood Approach:
 A way of thinking about the objectives, scope, and priorities
for development
 Putting people at the center of development
 The sustainable livelihood framework
 Origins: The white paper
 Objectives: to increase the sustainability of poor people’s
A Framework for Rural Development
 Core concepts of the SLF
 Putting people at the center: starts with analysis people’s
livelihoods and how these have been changed over time,
fully involved people and respect their views, focuses on
the impact of different policies and institutional
arrangements upon household and people, and work to
support people achieve their own livelihood goals.
 Holistic: attempts to identify the most pressing
constraints faced by and promising opportunities open
to people regards of where, space, or level and builds
upon people’s own definition of their constraints and
A Framework for Rural Development
- Dynamic: people’s livelihoods and the institutions
that shape them are highly dynamic.
- Building on strengths: starts with an analysis of
strength rather than needs
- Macro-micro links: emphasizing the importance of
macro level policy and institutions to the
livelihood options of communities and individuals

A Framework for Rural Development
- Sustainability: a key of SL approach
• Environmental sustainability is achieved when the
productivity of life-supporting natural resources is
conserved or enhanced for use by next generations
• Economic sustainability is achieved when a given level of
expenditure can be maintained over time
• Social sustainability is achieved when social exclusion is
minimized and social equity is maximized
• Institutional sustainability is achieved when prevailing
structures and process have capacity to continue to
perform their functions over the long time
Framework for Rural Development
 Policies &
Structures &
 Structures
 Government
 Private Sector
 Processes
 Policies
 Culture
 Laws
 Institutions
Capital Assets
Physical Financi
• Shocks
• Trends
• Seasonality

• + Sustainable
use of NR base
• + Income
• + Well-being
• Reduced
• + Food security
Capital Assets
 “A livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets and activities required
for a means of living. A livelihood is sustainable when it can cope with
and recover from stresses and shocks and maintain or enhance it
capabilities and assets both now and future while not undermining the
natural resource base”
 Natural capital: e.g. land, water wildlife, biodiversity, environmental
 Social capital: e.g. social network, membership of groups, access to
wider institutions of society
 Human capital: e.g. the skills, knowledge, ability to labour, good health
 Physical capital: e.g. transport, shelter, water, energy and
 Financial capital: savings, supplies of credit or regular remittances or
Vulnerability context
 Vulnerability context: Frames the external environment in which
people exist. People’s livelihoods and the wider availability of
assets are fundamental affected by critical trends, shocks and
 Trends: Population trends, resource trends,
national/international economic trends, trends in governance,
technical trends,
 Shocks: Human health shocks, natural shocks, conflict,
crop/livestock health shocks
 Seasonality: of prices, of production, of health, of employment
Transforming structures and process
 Structures: Public sector, private sector, civil society.
 Structures exist at various levels that set and implement policy and
legislation, deliver services, purchase, trade and perform all manner
of other functions that affect livelihoods.
 Structures make process functions
 Processes: Policy, legislation, institutions, culture, power relations.
They determine the way in which structures – and individuals –
operate and interact.
 Processes are important to every aspect of livelihoods, e.g.,
providing incentives – from markets through cultural constraints,
defining how to manage resources etc.
Livelihood strategies
 Livelihood strategies:
 Natural resources – based, Non-natural resources based,
 Intensification, diversification, migration
 Coping, adaptive
 Livelihoods strategies: Dynamic, diversity at every level
within geographic areas, across sectors, within households
and over time.

Livelihood Outcomes
 More income
 Increased well-being
 Reduced vulnerability
 Improved food security
 More sustainable use of the natural resource base

Livelihood outcomes as a basis for indicator