The Net: Power Structure In Ten Villages

While working for an emergency relief program, BRAC staff became familiar with the landless people and their problems. It also became clear that quite large-scale government relief operations were going on that if successful, would have made BRAC’s work largely unnecessary. However, the resources were not reaching the poor and landless but instead were being controlled and enjoyed by a small number of powerful men, who had developed good connections with the local government officers. This study was undertaken to examine one of the biggest problems of the poor: the rich and powerful, and how they are extending and maintaining their power. The methodology was essentially simple and could be repeated by any field worker who can read, write and do simple arithmetic. The main sources of information were the landless people in each village. The local elite also supplied information about themselves and each other, and government officers helped clarify various points. The report builds all this information into a comprehensive whole and drew some simple conclusions, as theoretical statements could not be developed due to time and training constraints. The findings of the report confirmed that the local power structure was built upon a combination of economic and physical power and a system of interlocking networks, that allowed the rich to gain control over local and external resources.

Author: RED, BRAC
Type: Monograph
Year: 1986