Don't Storm the Bastille, Go Around It: Alternative Avenues for Sustainable Community Development

Prof. Lillian Trager,
Carla Freeman,
Dr. Anne Statham,
Prof. Peggy James,
Faridah Khan
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Strong governments and economies are not sufficient in themselves to ensure sustainable community development; a vibrant civil sector is also necessary. Governments and corporations often further their own interests or that of the existing order, with consequences that do not always advance sustainability at the community level. Some have suggested that the emergence of globalization provides communities opportunities to build transnational connections with other like communities whose experiences they can learn from and with which they can forge connections, thus superseding dependency on the traditional national state structure. Five presentations by individuals in different disciplines examine this process from various angles.

“U.S. Poverty and Welfare Programs” by Anne Statham

(Sociology) examines recent evidence that current government reform programs have failed to help these individuals move out of poverty, and considers the possibility that community-centered programs built with a participatory policy development model may have a greater potential of truly meeting the needs of this group.

“Institutional Structures and Cross-Cutting Networks in Nigeria” by Lillian Trager

(Anthropology) considers how two sets of hierarchical arrangements -- the formal government hierarchy and “traditional rulers”--intersect with linkages and networks formed by non-governmental and community-based organizations to both facilitate and constrain local community development.

“Transnational Networks in Chiapas, Mexico” by Peggy James

(Political Science) considers the tension between increased autonomy and the power interests of the state manifest in Chiapas, Mexico where the Zapatista Army of National Liberation has organized local civic organizations that meet local residents’ needs, with assistance of groups outside the Mexican state.

“Global Networks and Sustainability in Chinese Cities” by Carla Freeman (Political Science) examines how a number of Chinese cities have sought to develop their capacity to meet state-set sustainable development objectives by fostering the emergence of community-based organizations and their connections with global networks.

“Building Networks in the “Fourth World”: The Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh” by Farida Khan

(Economics) considers strategies used in this region, largely populated by tribal groups. The government branded the region a less developed region and subjected it to a policy of settling the region with mainstream people under a strong army presence. Following much violence, the tribal groups have attempted to formulate their own agenda of sustainable development under a peace agreement with the national government. International influence on this agenda will be examined.

Keywords: Sustainable Community Development, Networks, Civil Sector, Local Institutions, Transnational Networks
Stream: Social Sustainability
Presentation Type: Colloquium in English
Paper: Postmodern Paths to Sustainability, U. S. Poverty and Welfare Reform

Prof. Lillian Trager

Professor of Anthropology, Dept of Sociology and Anthropology
Center for International Studies, University of Wisconsin-Parkside


Lillian Trager is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for International Studies, University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Her research focuses on local community development in Southwestern Nigeria. She is the author of Yoruba Hometowns: Community, Identity and Development in Nigeria (Lynne Rienner 2001) and The City Connection: Migration and Family Interdependence in the Philippines (U of Michigan 1988) as well as the editor of the forthcoming volume, Migration and Economy: Global and Local Dynamics (Altamira 2005). She was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2000-2001 at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife Nigeria, and is the Past President of the Society for Economic Anthropology

Carla Freeman


Dr. Freeman conducts research on the domestic and international political-economy of China’s economic reform. Her recent work has focused on issues related to regionalism in China, China’s accession to the World Trade Organization and the emphasis and impact of China’s developing strategies to safeguard its economic security. She formerly directed the global studies program at Alverno College in Wisconsin. Dr. Freeman received her doctorate from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Anne Statham

University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha

Anne Statham is Professor of Sociology at University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She
is also Director of the Institute for Community Based Learning on the campus. She has published articles and books in the areas of women's work, women's poverty, ecofeminism, and gender. She is currently working on a participatory policy project concerning welfare policy in the U.S.

Prof. Peggy James

University of Wisconsin-Parkside

Peggy James received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee in Political Science (1988). She is currently Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in the fields of International Relations and Latin American Politics. Research interests include mathematical modeling of political phenomena (stability of political systems, and the stability of American public opinion) and, most recently, the application of postmodern concepts of power and resistance to marginalized international groups. She has published in the Journal of Politics, International Journal of Public Opinion Research, and International Transactions. Current work includes the development of a network model to illustrate the success of various groups in circumventing state dominated hierarchical structures.

Faridah Khan

University of Wisconsin

Farida Chowdhury Khan is Professor of Economics and University of Wisconsin - Parkside. Most of her research has focused on modeling the effects of trade policy different sectors of the economy. Her recent works on Bangladesh include the effect of development policy on women and also on ethnic minorities. She is co-editor of the forthcoming book Analytical Issues in the Economic Development of Bangladesh.

Ref: S06P0133