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Title: Rural society and waste : waste management in the south-west province of Cameroon
Author: Atem, T.-N. H.
Awarding Body: University College of Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1982
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This thesis examines the problems of change in the technology of waste management in a rural area of Cameroon during the period 1960-1979. Chapter One sets the scene for the analysis. A brief account of the important features of the whole United Republic of Cameroon is followed by a precise description of the study area. This highlights the wider implications for waste management to be discussed in the rest of the thesis. The second chapter develops an analytical model from social theory which is used in the rest of the thesis to explain how change in the technology of waste management takes place in the rural areas. The model is eclectic. In it society is regarded as a collection of individual actors who have individual objectives. In order to achieve their objectives actors require resources. The nature of the resources which actors possess is largely conditioned by the pattern of interdependencies. All social actors are creative in their behaviour but their creativity may be limited by circumstances. Thus the process of interaction among actors is subject to various constraints. Focussing attention upon such conceptions of human behaviour provides a fruitful approach to an analysis of power relations among actors. Of particular importance in this thesis is the distribution of power in society. The power which actors have results in some forms of action being possible for some actors but impossible for others. This model is used to generate hypothesis which relate to waste management. Chapter Three discusses the design aid methods of collecting the empirical evidence to test the hypotheses illuminated by the theoretical model. Both conventional and some non-conventional methods are used. On the bases of their varied levels of perception and degrees of power, five groups of actors were identified in these rural areas: the rural economic elite, the rural literate, the traditional authorities, the traditional healers and the illiterate peasants. For the purpose of a more careful detail and closer examination these actors were disaggregated and each examined separately in chapters four to eight. The rural economic elite are examined to show how their resources are deployed to bring about sanitation changes as well as the implications for the waste/disease relationship. The analysis of the rural literate is concerned with the key question of whether change in the technology of waste management is associated with the actor's formal education. In other words does actors' formal education change their perception? Does changed perceptions change actions, habits and customs? Does the formal educational system itself promote good hygiene by both precept and example? Traditional authorities are analysed in chapter six to find out their impact on village communal sanitation changes. Chapter seven examines the role of traditional healers on waste management and other community sanitation behaviour. It investigates in what sense the healers have power in the community, how far the use of that power is conducive to good sanitation and why healers are resistant to change. The eighth chapter examines the pattern and level of change in waste management among illiterate peasants. It provides explanations for this pattern of change and the implications for the health of the people. The conclusion draws out the essence from the empirical evidence analysed in chapters four to eight and relates these to the theoretical model. It indicates and establishes the goodness of fit between the evidence and the model as well as the comprehensiveness of the nature of the explanationa offered by the model. It highlights both the strengths and weaknesses of that model. It indicates some wider implications of the findings with brief recommendations for the policy maker. Finally it suggests areas that are in urgent need of further research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available