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Values and Development in Southern Africa

Hans Muller, Pinkie Mekgwe

Publication Year: 2013

Development has been on Africaís agenda for a long time but progress has been both varied and limited, partly due to the diverse levelsof the discussions ont he challenges and the interventions for tackling them. Africaís greatest challenge is the uneven development within and between its countries, and the pressing issues of extreme poverty in southern Africa, and the continent as a whole. Poverty causes its victims to suffer social exclusion and political repression. In addition, societies that experience poverty are also mostly under continuous threat of ecological disasters and diseases. All poor people are therefore plagued by loss of freedom and dignity, and are often unable to participate effectively in the political, economic, legal and social processes of their countries. This book focuses on the social and cultural dimensions of development dynamics and, in particular, the role of values in shaping development. Values are at the core of the hopes and aspirations of individuals, communities and societies. The book therefore explains the values that motivate and inform African communities and societies, with a view to facilitating a dialogue about sustainable development in Africa among academics, intellectuals, policy and decisionmakers, and the communities. It also investigates the social and cultural dynamics of development in Africa, as a better alternative to earlier studies that blame African culture for poverty and exclude the people of Africa in their definition of developments in the continent. The significance of this book lies in its provision of a theoretical argument, from empirical perspective, on the role of values in the development of Africa; an argument that is capable of facilitating a dialogue about African development, which obviously proves more useful than either the imposition of a technical process or the announcement of a normative framework.

Published by: African Books Collective


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pp. 1-3

Title page

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p. 4-4

Copyright page

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p. 5-5


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Any attempt to do comparative research with substantial empirical components, whether these are qualitative or quantitative or both, as it should be is fraught with obstacles. To do so without significant funding of the empirical work is to try the impossible. We wanted to do all of this across a minimum of six countries in Southern Africa. ...

Section I - Introducing the Issues

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1. Introduction

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pp. 3-16

Africa’s most important challenge is the uneven development within and between countries and the pressing issues relating to poverty in Southern Africa and the continent as a whole. We acknowledge that development has been on Africa’s agenda for a long time and progress has been variable. ...

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2. Background, Problem and Methodology

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pp. 17-44

This chapter explains the basic issues, choices and assumptions that launch the rest of the study. It includes defining some of the key terms to be used in the study, i.e. “values” and “development”, but starts with an explanation of the choice to focus on Southern Africa and specifically the six countries that are covered by the network. ...

Section II - Theoretical Reflections

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3. Cultural Values and Development in Theory and Practice

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pp. 47-86

The relationship between values, culture and development is seldom investigated, sometimes argued or assumed, often wholly ignored in development literature (Sen 2004a:35). This is an obvious concern in a context where a hidden popular assumption is that culture and values are the real difference between African development paths and development paths in other parts of the world. ...

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4. Cosmology, Power, Human Relationships and Human Qualities

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pp. 87-132

We argue that any analysis of the role of values in development in Africa would have to incorporate investigation into four areas. These are cosmology, power, human relationships and human qualities. Under these categories, we consider many different aspects to be worthy of investigation. Many of these aspects are multi-faceted and relate to more than one of the areas. ...

Section III - Exploratory Empirical Investigations

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5. Linking Values and Development: An Empirical Analysis

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pp. 135-158

What has loosely been called ‘traditional African values’ has historically been viewed by scholars as a significant impediment to political and economic development in the twenty-first century. As argued by Mattes and Shin (2005:5-6), those following traditional value patterns have been said to prioritise the collective good of the family and community over procedure and individual rights. ...

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6. Values, Development and Demography

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pp. 159-178

There is an intricate reciprocal relationship between values, development and demography (and the components of population growth). In effect, values impact on development that in turn affects trends in fertility, mortality and migration. On the other hand, development also impacts on values. ...

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7. Human Values, African Values, Southern African Values? On Work

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pp. 179-224

In this chapter, we explore and compare work value orientations of people in Europe and Africa and then focus on work ethic and religion in three African countries in the Southern African region. The two themes deal with a key aspect of perceptions about Africa in that work orientation and work ethic would somehow explain something of the lack of development in Africa. ...

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8. Conclusion

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pp. 225-230

The quest for comparative perspective on the role of values and culture in development in African societies continues. If there is one matter that has become clear in the process of putting together the results of this book, it is that there are all sorts of gaps in what we can put together without comprehensive new research. ...

Appendix: Country Reports

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pp. 231-236


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pp. 237-256

Back cover

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p. 268-268

E-ISBN-13: 9782869785670
Print-ISBN-13: 9782869785540

Page Count: 266
Publication Year: 2013