Date of Submission

7-2011

Abstract

This research explores the concept of community development among the Igorot Indigenous Peoples in Benguet, Philippines. It investigates the Igorots’ understanding of their community in relation to their culture and their interaction with the ‘modern’ world. It explores Igorot perspectives on the relevance of their culture in obtaining their ‘desired development’ within the present realities of their community. Exploring culturally and academically appropriate methods of conducting research with Indigenous populations such as the Igorot community was an important process of this study. This research reveals that Indigenous researchers undertaking research in their own communities have no ‘automatic credibility’ in navigating and utilising Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge ways (Pohlhuas 2002). Drawing from Indigenous methodologies, the research employed Indigenous research methods using Igorot traditional ways of learning. The findings of the study reveal that the Igorot understanding of community is a combination of colonial and traditional culture and values. The participants argue that although they cannot fully practice their traditional culture as their ancestors did, they still recognise its significance in their present lives. This research explores the Igorots’ coping and adapting mechanisms including the establishing of peoples organisations and informal education as ways of working in the community. Specific models of community development, that utilise the strengths of the culture are explored which confirm that cultural context and knowledge systems are an essential component in researching and working with Indigenous Peoples. By recognising and appropriately using the strengths of cultural identity, consciousness and traditional values that the Igorots have, community workers are able to provide opportunities for the people to revive their traditional communal and relational living. The Igorots demonstrate that ‘prescribed development systems’ can be of great advantage to their community when deconstructed and viewed from the ‘window of the peoples’ culture’. Most importantly, the participants in this study have shown that Indigenous Peoples’ despite being historical ‘victims’ of development have the capabilities to as ‘active contributors’ to their own and to mainstream community development.

School/Institute

School of Arts and Sciences

Document Type

Thesis

Access Rights

Open Access

Extent

348 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Faculty

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

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Research Location

 
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