uCommunity Development and Cultural Change in Latin America
Author(s): Norman B. Schwartz
Source: Annual Review of Anthropology, Vol. 7 (1978), pp. 235-261
Published by: Annual Reviews
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2155694 .
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Ann. Rev. Anthropol. 1978. 7:235-61
Copyright (? 1978by Annual Reviews Inc. All rights reserved
AND CULTURAL CHANGE
IN LATIN AMERICA
Norman B. Schwartz
Department f Anthropology, niversityof Delaware,Newark,Delaware19711
The purpose of this essay is to review critically contemporary approaches
to the study of community and change in Latin American anthropology,
and to relate eachapproach to the role of anthropology in community
development (CD) work.
Anthropology and CD intersect in several ways. Anthropologists have
served as critics, consultants, and directors of CD projects (25; 132, p.
xiv-xv). CD work has provided anthropologists with opportunities to apply, test, and refine their ideas, and anthropological data and concepts have
influenced CD theories and methods(38). In the 1950s and 1960s anthropologists made assumptions about community, culture, and change
which coincided with the perspective in the CD movement, a coalescence
which justified anthropological involvement with CD. In the late 1960s and
early 1970s, the relationship attenuated for theoretical and practical reasons. Now once again more and more anthropologists are attracted to
appliedwork. However,at the same time, contemporary trends in anthropological theory and approaches to community studies appear to deny the
validity of conventional CD philosophy, making it difficult to warrant the
inclusion of anthropologists in standard CD work.
In my view, there are two major approaches to the study of community
and change in Latin American anthropology. They may be termed acommunity-culture and an ecology-society approach. Each has its own implications for the role of anthropology in CD. Before going into details, each
orientation will be broadly characterized.
The first and older approach assumes that culture (values, attitudes,
beliefs), tradition, and identity are resistant to rapid change and are themselvesprimary determinants of change and stability. These variables tend
to be examined within the confines of the local community, and great stress
is placed on the culture of the community in all its particularity. This
approach, often combined with functionalist and personality-culture theories, is consistent with the goals, methods, and assumptions of the CD
movement (see below).
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