Agricultural Development NGOs, Anthropology, and the Encounter With Cultural Knowledge

Shepherd, C 2005, 'Agricultural Development NGOs, Anthropology, and the Encounter With Cultural Knowledge', Culture and Agriculture, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 35-44.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Agricultural Development NGOs, Anthropology, and the Encounter With Cultural Knowledge
Author(s) Shepherd, C
Year 2005
Journal name Culture and Agriculture
Volume number 27
Issue number 1
Start page 35
End page 44
Total pages 10
Publisher American Anthropological Association - University of California Press
Abstract This article is intended to contribute to development anthropologists understanding of the role of culturalknowledge in the context of agricultural rural developmentprojects run by NGOs in the Third World. Paying particular attention to narrative constructs of deficiency in local livelihoods and knowledge of indigenous peasants of high-land Peru, it is argued that these constructs impede a fullerappreciation of the value of culture and the potential of localknowledge for development and conservation. In this respect, the role of development anthropologists is crucial, not only because of their familiarity with cultural knowledge but also because they are positioned to harmonize develop mentalist agendas with cultural knowledge. Drawing on ethnographic data, the article examines one particular case of a Peruvian NGO seeking to incorporate indigenousknowledge into its praxis. The tensions that emerge through this incorporation are investigated vis-à-vis the explanatory frameworks and agendas of conventional agricultural development models. It is concluded that the use of local knowledge in agricultural development necessarily entails a shift away from positivist understandings of knowledge, and that the task of development anthropologists may involve challenging some of the deep assumptions that development embodies.
Subject Social and Cultural Anthropology
Keyword(s) Agriculture
Biotechnology
Sustainability
Indigenous
NGOs
DOI - identifier 10.1525/cag.2005.27.1.35
ISSN 1048-4876
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