Showing 10 records of 21 records found.
Environment, Land Tenure
Though differing in emphasis from each other, several attempts to explain rural Haitian poverty, including the field studies of Moral (1961) and the more recent literature searches by Zuvekas (1978) and Lundahl (1979), have concurred in their identification of deforestation and soil erosion as major impediments to economic well-being in rural Haiti. Largely in response to Zuvekas’ findings, several planners in the late 70’s, aware that large sums of money had been wasted on unsuccessful reforestation and erosion control projects in Haiti, asked whether the root of the failure might not lie in Haitian peasant land tenure insecurity, in an …
As an anthropologist, I became interested in learning about life in Haitian villages. Despite a tightly controlled government (“Baby Doc” had succeeded his father “Papa Doc”), I was able to secure permission to settle into a small village with my wife to carry out two years of research. I was warned to stay away from Voodoo. Too many foreigners had spent too much time indulging their curiosity about this exotic cult I was told. I agreed. I preferred to learn about “the real Haiti” the economic and domestic organisation of village life. But Voodoo refused to be avoided. After weeks …
Gerald Murray, Maria Alvares
This report presents certain preliminary observations on the functioning of the Gros Morne Project. It is based on information during a brief field visit made during December of 1982. Both authors, at different times, had been approached by Project Staff with a view to possibly carrying out a formal evaluation of the project. This visit, however, was made as a preliminary contact, not as part of the formal evaluation. Because of the brevity of the visit, the information presented in these pages should be construed not as definitive findings, but as “carefully analyzed impressions.” And we hope in these pages …
Gerald Murray, Patricia Alvarez
In this report, we will present a somewhat detailed description and analysis of the food-related beliefs and behaviours of a community of Haitian peasant cultivators located in the Cul-de-Sac Plain. Our intention is to synthesize for readers interested in Haitian peasant life a complex body of information which we gathered on matters specifically related to food. This entails descriptions not only of community nutrition beliefs and ideals but also of actual community behaviour with respect to the preparation and distribution of food. Our hope is to present a clear, descriptive, dejargonized account of what people do to feed themselves and …
Demography, Land Tenure, Religion
In the following pages, I will present both descriptive and quantitative information, gathered in a Haitian village during 21 months of fieldwork. information reveals the somewhat unexpected but empirically convincing and critical role which Haitian-peasant Voodoo plays in the contemporary land tenure system; specifically, this cult was found to function as a partially camouflaged resource-circulating mechanism, a role that seems to have arisen in the context of recent population growth.
In these pages I will describe and analyse the recent emergence, in a mountainous region of rural Haiti, of a locally unique but technically effective erosion control strategy which, though unknown some two decades ago, had by the late 1970’s become an essential, universally adopted element in the agrarian repertoire of peasant cultivators in the research community. The significance of this pattern lies not only in its uniqueness within the context of the ongoing, virtually unimpeded erosion which continues to undermine the agrarian base of most regions of this mountainous Caribbean nation. In addition, the appearance of this locally confined …
This study, based on twenty-one months of fieldwork, documents the occurrence of “cultural evolution” in the form of a series of adaptive land-sharing strategies that have emerged in a Haitian peasant community, serving as a partial buffer against the deleterious impact of internal population growth. The recent anthropological literature on agricultural intensification emphasizes adaptive changes in technology as an agrarian response to population growth. Population growth in Haiti, however, has led to a transformation, not of technology, but of land tenure, in the form of ritually mediated resource-sharing patterns that permit the bulk of the population to remain on the …
In the context of almost total national isolation after 1804, the Haitian peasantry has had to call on its own resources for the development of folk institutions and theories to handle the gamut of problems that confront all human societies.’ The economic and social isolation which has characterized, and to a degree still characterizes, Haiti as a national unit has meant, among other things, that the rural populace has remained outside of the currents of modern medicine. The protection and healing of the human body have continued to be handled by herb medicine and by a bewilderingly rich body of …
Gerald Murray, Kwan-Wha Chen
We have devised the following descriptive definition: a rural Third World survey is the careful collection, tabulation, and analysis of wild guesses, half-truths, and outright lies meticulously recorded by gullible outsiders during interviews with suspicious, intimidated, but outwardly compliant villagers. The definition is meant to be a caricature not of the villager, but of the researcher; not of all village surveys, but certainly of many. Both of us have experience in village interviewing and we are consequently touched by the caricature.
Gerald Murray, Patricia Alvarez
For several decades anthropologists working in the Caribbean have been explicitly aware of the need to look beyond the confines of the communities which they study, to take into consideration major national and supranational forces which have shaped and influenced local life (e.g. Smith 1956: chap. 8; Steward 1956:6-7; Padilla 1960:22; Manners 1960:80-82). But at first glance, the situation of the people of rural Haiti appears to be somewhat exceptional in this regard. Analysts of rural Haitian society appear to be more impressed by the isolation of the peasant’s life than by his involvement with events and people outside his …