Holism in Development Considering Traditional Ecological Knowledge

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Peter Fuqua


This study sought to understand the purposes and effects of development projects carried out in marginalized places. To get a foundation on how these projects work, I researched the Thaba-Tseka project, which was active in the late 1970s through the early 1980s. The central ethnography I used for this research was The Anti-Politics Machine: “Development,” Depoliticization, and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho by James Ferguson (1990). Additionally, I investigated how traditional ecological knowledge and a holistic approach can realign development values to be less ethnocentric. This study shows that while development projects tend to be bad for the groups that they intend to assist, there is potential for improvement through a reversal of approach. There is potential for development projects to bring about positive change in the world through the incorporation of holistic perspectives and traditional ecological knowledge.

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