Cole D. Genge

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Open Access Capstone

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A qualitative research project on the dynamics of social change in rural agrarian societies in the tropics and sub-tropics was conducted during the months of October and December of 1998 and January of this year. The research topic emerged, in part, from researcher's interest on issues related to community development in the third world, environmental issues in the tropics, and the promotion of social change for the benefit of marginalized peoples.

The preliminary study of social change in the rural tropics was the result of five case studies with individuals living in the Pioneer Valley region of Western Massachusetts who either lived and/or worked with rural agrarian communities in the tropics and sub-tropics. Key to the researcher was the notion of seeking overarching issues affecting social change across various continents. The researcher was aware that many factors motivating change are neither voluntary nor beneficial to the community, therefore he was searching for both positive and/or negative impacts affecting community social change. Preliminary findings indicate there are parallel trends affecting social change in agrarian communities across the tropics and sub-tropics.

The following document is an exploration into one of the themes that remained consistent over the course of the interviewing process, namely, how does change occur in poverty stricken agrarian regions of the world?



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