This article provides information about the endogenous development approach:
The idea of endogenous development has emerged from the approach of the alternative development. It is more specific to ones’ own culture in respect of its own development. The term, as it suggests, indicates the development from within the culture. It takes impetus from its own foundation of culture and gears the process of development. The notion of the “endogenous” takes into consideration social, cultural and symbolic aspects of a society.
When we call endogenous development, we think it is opposite to the idea of mainstream development, which emphasises development through the process of change, that means, through the process of modernisation i.e. development of a society following the cultural characteristics of western societies. It is the process which can be called as westernisation.
But endogenous development means shaking off all the traditional and existing customs, values, and beliefs of the society which intends to develop its self-confidence. When goals and values are generated from within the culture, it also generates self-confidence. Here it is believed that modernity is generated from within own culture.
Therefore, modernisation is not a thing to be borrowed from the west. There is no need to believe in modernisation of tradition. Any society can develop of its own; it can develop itself without the help of the others’ path of development. Rahman mentions “Development is endogenous — there are no front runners to be followed”. If a society tries to modernise itself by following models of any western country, it will lead to the destruction of its own culture by inviting western cultural elements in its own culture which may not be adjustable to the existing situation.
There will be destruction of its own social values, moral and beliefs. Tradition always resists any change towards modernisation in the form of western model. Therefore, there may be conflict between tradition and modernity leading to unstable traditional cultural situation in a society. But modernisation from within means innovation of new elements from within the society and adaptation to these new elements. Tradition is also considered as sources of innovation, change, development and modernisation.
It is seen that the endogenous idea of development is the foundation of the alternative development approach. But there are some problems to discern what is endogenous and what is exogenous element in a culture. There may not always any distinct boundary between endogenous and exogenous elements in a culture and development thinking. There is also a problem with regard to the unit of development in the endogenous concept. In the conventional idea “society” is used as a unit of development or a “state” or a “nation”.
In criticising the approaches of the mainstream development the ethno-development approach has highlighted that the development statistics usually show country statistics, or at the national level. Besides country statistics other development statistics are available at the regional level concerning Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, etc. In development studies, the regions have become a familiar unit of development similar to the nation. The other scale of development action is the world – local, national and macro-regional under UN system.
These broader units of development may not have any systematic in-depth approach at the micro-level such as the community or ethnic group of a nation or of a region, etc. The need-based approach of the ethnic group of community requires micro- and in-depth analysis of the community own ideas or perception of development. In other words, this is what is called understanding of indigenous knowledge.
The idea of indigenous knowledge has emerged to recognise the local knowledge. Agrawal has pointed out that ignoring people’s knowledge about their own development is almost to ensure failure in developmental efforts. There has been a clear shift of the orientation of developmental approach which has been largely influenced by ethnomethodology in opposition to the enlightenment or positivistic approach in the areas of development. Norman Long has advocated “actor-oriented” approach in criticising structuralist approaches in development and prefers to adopt anthropological approach.