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Orientations to development: a comparative analysis in Natal and KwaZulu.

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In the last four decades social scientists have been preoccupied with the process of modernisation and development. Theorists who emphasised a normative perspective distinguished between value systems relating to individuals they termed urban-based and modern, and those they classified as rural-based and traditional. Research for this dissertation was undertaken in order to study value systems as they relate to the development process, and in particular to test assumptions underlying the modernisation theory. Data were collected in two stages; semi-structured, focused group discussions were held in two marginal rural areas of KwaZulu, and personalised interviews were conducted within metropolitan Durban by means of a predesigned questionnaire. Results were content-analysed in order to examine values within the broad categories of work, the family and leadership within the community. In addition, a factor analysis was applied to the urban survey data to assess general patterns of value orientations. The results of the study did not support the widely held views of modernisation theorists, namely that traditional values are not compatible with modern values, that they are mutually exclusive and in conflict with each other. It was found that traditionalism and modernism, as defined by modernisation theorists, were compatible, and coexisted and permeated both rural- and urban-based people. Although traditional reactions appeared to dominate in the sphere of the family, in terms of work and leadership no clear distinction was evident, and the traditional and modern were closely interrelated. In addition, a simple rural-urban continuum of values did not emerge. On the basis of the findings and of criticisms directed at the modernisation theory in general, it was recommended that further research be undertaken in order to develop a more appropriate theoretical framework for development in South Africa. An holistic approach, incorporating not only the existing values of people but also broader factors which impinge on such values, need be taken into consideration in future explanations of underdevelopment and development planning.


Thesis (M.Dev.Studies)-University of Natal, Durban, 1990.


Social values., Social change., Zulu (African people)--Attitudes., Theses--Development studies., KwaZulu-Natal--Social conditions., Rural development--KwaZulu-Natal.