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9295: new book on community organization in Haiti (fwd)

From: Rose-May Guignard <guignard@vt.edu>

new book available at www.frontlist.com.

When the Hands Are Many: Community Organization and Social Change in 
Rural Haiti
by Jennie M. Smith
Cornell University Press, paper
Due/Published: June 2001
272 pages.
In an ethnography that challenges standard approaches to 
understanding the poor and disempowered, Smith's descriptions of 
peasant activity change what constitutes a democratic society. 
Through their civil institutions and artistic expression, Haitian 
peasants, widely known as some of the world's most impoverished, 
politically disempowered, and illiterate citizens, debate the 
meanings of development, democracy, and the public good.

Smith offers a historically grounded overview of how the Haitian 
state and certain foreign powers have sought to develop rural Haiti 
and relates how Haitian peasants have responded to such efforts 
through words and deeds. The author argues that songs called chante 
pwen serve as "melodic machetes," a tool with which the peasants make 
their voices heard in many social circumstances.

Smith illustrates the philosophies, styles, and structures typical of 
social organization in rural Haiti with narrative portraits of 
peasant organizations engaged in agricultural work parties, business 
meetings, religious ceremonies, social service projects, song 
sessions, and other activities. She integrates these organizations' 
strengths into a new vision for social change and asks what must 
happen in Haiti and elsewhere to facilitate positive transformation 
in the world today.