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Workshop on Roles in Agricultural Development

Apr 21, 2017

The workshop “Playing Development Roles: The Political Ecology of Performance in South Asian Agricultural Development” took place on April 27 – 28 at the Karl Jaspers Centre. It was organized by Dr. Andrew Flachs and Junior Research Group C15 “Agrarian Alternatives” and commenced with a keynote lecture by Prof. Paul Richards from Wageningen University.

The workshop took place on April 28 and seeked to connect the complicated forces shaping farmer identity to direct environmental management. It therefore explored the ways in which farmers respond to incentives and constraints within development programs as well as the way in which farmers’ own agendas and values come to shape the reality of development. In doing so, it aimed to better describe a political ecology of development roles in South Asia and refocus attention on socially mediated environmental management.

The aim of the workshop was also to examine the ways in which South Asian farmers adapt international directive to suit their own needs and help shape the story of development as it is understood in Europe. It also dealt with the effects of their consumer choices the questions about the lives of the people who produce food, clothing, and handicrafts. The diverse panel of scholars discussed how development is perceived and created by different stakeholders in different contexts, how certain farmers are able to become local celebrities through development programs, how farmers learn to produce according to consumer desires in Europe and the United States, and the final impact of those social values on the environment in South Asia.

The keynote lecture “Peasant Farming as Improvisation. What Theory Do We Possess?” on April 27 by Prof. Paul Richards from argued that the performance of peasant agriculture retains considerable value to our understanding of the labile properties of human sociality. For illustration, he therefore considered some connections between improvisation in farming and rituals of social interaction in a West African farming community.

Prof. Paul Richards is Professor Emeritus of Development Economics at Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

Dr. Andrew Flachs joined the Cluster as a Volkswagen postdoctoral fellow in September 2016. He is member of the Junior Research Group “Agrarian Alternatives”.

The workshop was conducted in English and was open to the general public. It was sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation.

 

Picture: Andrew Flachs


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