Farmers' participation in knowledge circulation and the promotion of agroecological methods in South India

Arora, Saurabh (2012) Farmers' participation in knowledge circulation and the promotion of agroecological methods in South India. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 36 (2). pp. 207-235. ISSN 1044-0046

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Abstract

In the context of widespread agrarian distress in rural India, finding ways to secure livelihood sustainability of small farm- ers have become urgent concerns. Agroecological methods (AEMs) are considered by some to be effective in solving structural prob- lems with farmers’ production processes engendered by the use of resource-intensive technologies. AEMs generally require exten- sive participation by farmers for further development through on-farm experimentation and collective learning. This article stud- ies learning through the lens of knowledge circulation between farmers and “experts” in a local innovation system. In particu- lar, it analyzes farmers’ participation in knowledge circulation using network data on problem-solving knowledge flows to and from an innovative south Indian village. The findings suggest that farmers’ participation was restricted by formal and infor- mal institutions governing the knowledge interactions between the development organizations that promoted AEM and the farm- ers. Any new ways of working (technological and institutional innovations) are argued to be filtered through the sediments of extant techno-institutional context, leading to the profusion of hybrid forms of technology and organization. However, despite this profusion, or perhaps because of it, epistemological and socio- cultural hierarchies continue to operate in avowedly participatory projects organized to promote AEMs based on farmers’ “traditional knowledge.”

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Saurabh Arora
Date Deposited: 02 May 2014 06:05
Last Modified: 02 May 2014 06:05
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/48332
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