Geography and Anthropology
This paper provides a case study illustrating the crossroads between the agendas of international/national economic development with that of the development objectives of local communities. It shows how a community development project connects villagers to the larger world – both practically and imaginatively. This study takes a single case, the process of developing a guesthouse building project among the Nalú of southern Guinea-Bissau, to illustrate how a local attempt to connect to the outside world is intersected by community relations, NGOs, and development discourse. Through a community study using ethnographic methodology including participant observation, interviews, and focus groups, the village under investigation is shown to be engaged in a process of negotiated valuation in economic, cultural, and globalized terms. The context of the guesthouse project is outlined, followed by the revelation that although the project failed to accomplish what the developers had hoped, it did succeed in enabling various members of the community to demonstrate what they valued, thus asserting agency on their own terms.
Journal of International and Global Studies