chapter  6
26 Pages

African peasants and resistance to change: a recon- sideration of sociological approaches

ByCaroline Hutton, Robin Cohen

Conservative and innovative behaviour occurs in all societies, but there appears to be no uniform pattern of resistance to change or acceptance of the new which enables us to say who will resist particular technological, scientific, and cultural changes. Given this circumstance, the sociologist of development is faced with a set of theoretical problems. One common source of difficulty, which comes under the view of the sociologist is the reluctance or refusal of peasant cultivators2 or rural workers to co-operate in the achievement of development goals-goals which are either implicitly held as universal goods or are specifically promoted by the planners or politicians in the underdeveloped countries. It would seem to be a pattern of peasant life to evade, impede or ignore many kinds of economic change which are considered likely to benefit those who most vigorously resist them. If sociologists of development have any effective part to play in facilitating economic development, one useful contribution would lie in making clear what factors are involved in resistance behaviour, and how such behaviour comes about.