ERIC Number: ED390621
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Toward a Quality-of-Life Paradigm for Sustainable Communities.
This paper suggests that current paradigms and world views guiding research for social action are inadequate for directing rural community change in a high-tech, global community. For several generations, the agrarian and industrial paradigms have been accepted as appropriate for guiding social change and development. However, there are problems associated with these paradigms. First, "rural development" is a concept that embodies conflicting paradigms. The word "rural" generally brings to mind images of rustic, pastoral, agriculture-based settings for the production of food and fiber. On the other hand, "development" denotes patterns of growth, concentration, urbanization, and industrialization. The result is both "paradigm gridlock" and "paradigm obsolescence." The quality-of-life paradigm (QoL) addresses inconsistencies concerning rural development and change. QoL emphasizes sustainability as integral to economic and community development. The QoL paradigm differs radically from the industrial paradigm by emphasizing the end results of social processes; stressing quality and flexibility instead of quantity and standardization; emphasizing individual choice through customization, diversity, and flexibility in contrast to standardization; promoting decentralization of power and control instead of centralization; focusing education and employment on generalization and multiple skills; and allowing for individual discretion that is in harmony with societal values. The QoL paradigm sets the standard for success by appropriate scale, rather than the bigger-is-better, most-is-best principle, and focuses on the overall community as the target of development. Contains 23 references. (LP)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Agrarianism; Paradigm Shifts
Note: In: Issues Affecting Rural Communities. Proceedings of an International Conference Held by the Rural Education Research and Development Centre (Townsville, Queensland, Australia, July 10-15, 1994); see RC 020 376.