Title
Re-engineering rural society: the visions and ambitions of the Rwandan elite Re-engineering rural society: the visions and ambitions of the Rwandan elite
Author
Faculty/Department
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Sociology
Source (journal)
African affairs / Royal African Society [London] - London, 1944, currens
Volume/pages
108(2009) :431 , p. 1-21
ISSN
0001-9909
ISI
000264189000006
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
This article analyses the Rwandan elite's visions and ambitions for a wide-ranging re-engineering of rural society. The post-1994 political elite has few links to rural society and the peasant way of life, and sees little room for small-scale peasant agriculture in Rwanda's economic future. The article shows how current Rwandan policy makers aim to realize three social engineering ambitions: first, to transform the agricultural sector into a professionalized motor for economic growth, centred on competitive and commercial farm units; second, to artificially upgrade rural life by inserting 'modern' techniques and strategies into local realities, while hiding true poverty and inequality; and, finally, to transform Rwanda into a target-driven society from the highest to the lowest level. The article points to the (potential) dangers, flaws, and shortcomings of this rural re-engineering mission, and illustrates how the state as the engineer 'hovers' above the local without consulting those affected. It concludes that contemporary polices are unlikely to be conducive to poverty reduction.
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