Presentation on theme: "Farmer First Revisited 12 – 14 December 2007 at the Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK Presentation, Theme 1c, Science and the Politics of."— Presentation transcript:
Farmer First Revisited 12 – 14 December 2007 at the Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, UK Presentation, Theme 1c, Science and the Politics of Knowledge Discussant: Melissa Leach (IDS and STEPS Centre)
Science and the politics of knowledge Discussant’s comments Melissa Leach
Eight fascinating papers Cognitive maps in the Philippines (Nazarea) West African seed systems as neural networks (Richards) Indigenous knowledge and innovations in India – the Honey Bee Network (Gupta) Factors shaping the spread of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) (Uphoff) Dialogues and learning alliances around SRI in India (Prasad) Scaling-up participatory research in potato-related innovation systems in Bolivia, Peru, Ethiopia and Uganda (Ortiz et al) Linking scientists and users – the DFID Research Into Use programme (Albright) Including civil society organisations in African agricultural R and D (Jones and Sanyang)
Distinguishing knowledge systems Beyond conventional distinctions: indigenous vs. scientific; traditional vs. modern; local vs. global; practical vs. theoretical Technology vs. sets of principles Bodies of (technical) knowledge vs. cognitive processes ‘In head’, discursive knowledge vs. ‘in body’; practice, habitus; sensory, emotional Individual vs. socially-distributed knowledge Supervised vs. unsupervised learning Integration of multiple knowledges in an innovation system vs. multiple innovation systems Distinct technological paradigms linked with political- economic-social goals
Dynamics Contexts of rapid environmental, political and economic change – variability in time as well as space Shocks and stresses Uncertainties, unpredictabilities, surprises Locating resilience – in technologies, cognitive processes, innovation systems? Rigidity of technologies/supervised learning vs. plasticity, flexibility, adaptability of practice-sets, networks?
Models of spread Entrepreneurship and marketing Scaling-up through formal mechanisms to link multiple actors – civil society, public and private, global agencies and funders Inclusionary mechanisms to raise farmer voice in formal decision-making Key ‘witnessing events’ Personal crusades and opportunity-taking ‘Messy, playful encounters of everyday practice where farmers, scientists and civil society are engaging in an uneven but dynamic knowledge marketplace’ (Prasad) Unseen spread through unacknowledged networks
Politics of interaction Comfortable integration within a larger innovation system Fraught encounters – negotiations over knowledge, means of validation, framing questions Informal (sometimes) hidden adoption of each other’s ideas and technologies Coalitions that link different agendas Histories of dissent between positioned paradigms Learning alliances – knowledge dialogues that build bridges, create shared languages Frontstage consensus vs. backstage conflict?
Questions What are the salient characteristics and distinctions between ‘knowledge systems’ that should now guide a revisiting of FF? What characteristics of knowledge/innovation systems are key to building resilience amidst current dynamics and uncertainties? What processes are key to spreading ‘farmers’ knowledge/learning’, and how can these be enhanced? Linking ‘farmers’ and ‘scientists’ – what roles/contexts for integrative, networked, deliberative and antagonistic politics? What are the implications for designing innovation systems and ‘learning alliances’?