KWRRI Research Reports


This study is concerned with social change and social impact of a major public works project on the human population required to relocate the persons being forced to sell to the Federal Government or turn over through condemnation proceedings homes, farms, and/or businesses to facilitate completion of a Federally authorized stream control measure. It is intended to test the utility of anthropological method and concept in evaluating and explicating sociocultural impact, and in addition to check hypotheses concerning importance of impact on social and economic areas of culture of the persons to be displaced, on their emigration patterns, and their cultural adaptation, and other social effects of relocation. Conclusions reached are that application of anthropological concepts and methods yield more intelligible results than sociological studies based on data generation through highly artificial questionnaire methods with attempted quantification of what are basically non-quantifiable data. This does not mean that simple counts and raw percentage comparisons are not significant to demonstrate trends, but that complex arithmetic computations are often used to imply a degree of precision that does not exist and explains nothing, Social scientists, planners, and change agents must come to realize that there are aspects of the quality of human life which must be considered which cannot be defined in numbers.

The study also presents evidence for the conclusion that in forced relocation in modern rural Kentucky, and probably elsewhere, social disruption is perceived as less disastrous and threatening, therefore less tension-producing, than perceived economic ill-effects. Finally, the study suggest ways in which the action agency involved in environment-changing major works could by social science-oriented planning mitigate the social costs of its operation.

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The work on which this report is based was supported in part by funds provided by the Office of Water Resources Research, United States Department of the Interior, as authorized under the Water Resources Research Act of 1964.