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Workshop on Roles in Agricultural Developement

Apr 21, 2017

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

The workshop takes place on April 28 and seeks to connect the complicated forces shaping farmer identity to direct environmental management. It therefore explores 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 aims 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 is 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 deals 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 will discuss 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 Paul Richards argues that the performance of peasant agriculture retains considerable value to our understanding of the labile properties of human sociality. For illustration, he therefore will consider 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 will be conducted in English and is open to the general public. It is sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation.


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