Marleni Ramirez & Hector Flores
Dept. of Food Science & Dept. of Plant Pathology/Science Technology and
Society Program.Pennsylvania State, University, U.S.A
Trying to bridge the many cultures of knowledge:The Andean Root and Tuber
(ART) Project in Peru.
|The goal of this research and training project is the improved understanding and expanded|
|cultivation and use of a fascinating complex of root and tuber crops (ARTs) domesticated
Andean region. These ARTs complement potatoes as the major source of calories and nutrition
for some of the poorest subsistence farmers in the highlands. It is remarkable that this root and
tuber-based agricultural system has persisted for such a long time and through major
upheavals, from the economic, cultural and biological catastrophe of the Columbian Exchange
through the Peruvian Agrarian Reform of 1969 and agricultural policies which prioritise export
crops. The promise of these crops has been maintained through centuries of cultural upheaval
by Andean farmers, through a continuously evolving set of agronomic practices, deep
knowledge of the diversity and uses of ARTs, and a deeply-rooted attachment to their cultural
|Our approach toward realising the promise of these forgotten foods is based on the premise|
|that indigenous and modern agricultural knowledge should be equally valued and integrated
with social and economic outlooks. The essence of our project is a partnership between
farmers and biological and social scientists including collaborators at several Peruvian
institutions and a U.S. university. Our partnership aims at understanding and optimising
practices for maintaining, exchanging and storing root and tuber crop germplasm, control pests
and diseases and explore opportunities for marketing fresh and value-added products. We will
discuss our experiences to date in implementing this project.
Paul Sillitoe (1), Julian Barr, (2) & Peter Dixon (1)
1. Department of Anthropology, University of Durham
2. Centre for Land Use and Water Resources Research, University of
Methodological Issues in Incorporating Local Knowledge into Natural
Resources Research & Development
|There is burgeoning interest in promoting synergy between local peoplesí knowledge (LK)|
|and western scientific knowledge to improve livelihoods. Implicit is that science
something to offer resource-poor natural resource users in developing countries. Explicit is that
its relevance can be improved by considering and learning from LK.
|Farmers view the world holistically, LK is thus systemic knowledge. In order to appreciate|
|it an interdisciplinary approach is required. Interdisciplinarity is a fashionable
approach in many fields, with disciplinary boundaries becoming relative. LK is being studied
from many vantage points - soil science, crop breeding, agroforestry, geography, in addition to
anthropology itself. Nonetheless there are difficulties with interdisciplinary research,
particularly across the natural science - social science boundary. The natural sciences have a
clear paradigm and well established methods for data acquisition and analysis, while some
social sciences take a more open-ended and methodologically informal approach to data
|There are further contentious issues with the collection and representation of LK.|
|Approaches span the spectrum from RRA/PRA to longer term ethnographic field research,
may include employing anthropologically trained local scientists. Analysis of LK is also
complex, particularly when making it available and accessible to natural scientists. Database
analysis, using tools such as qualitative data analysis (QDA) is one approach. However,
drawbacks of databases are that local people lose control of 'their' knowledge, whilst once in a
database it becomes reified and may be coopted to the dominant scientific paradigm. We
explore these issues in the context of the incorporation of LK into natural resources research on
Bangladesh floodplain production systems.
University of Sussex, UK
Being unemployed in Perama of Piraeus.
|The paper will deal with Perama a suburb of the city of Piraeus. The region owes its|
|existence to the small scale shipbuilding and repairing industries (850 enterprises
established during the 60's as a result of the intensive industrial development and restructuring
of the Greek economy.
|In due course, the shipbuilding industry at Perama became one of the most important|
|economic units of Europe employing 6,000 to 8,000 workers approximately. The structure
nature of the work in the shipyards is strongly affected by the international shipping economy,
the demand for the augmentation of ship tonnage and the demand for ship-repairs and
buildings. Thus, the employment of workers depends on the fluctuations of the international
demand as regards shipping economy. Under this light, the percentage of permanent workers
in the local enterprises is very low and the type of wandering worker across shipyards in order
to find a job is the dominant norm in the area.
|The importance of the shipyards as far as the domestic units of Perama (20.000 inhabitants|
|currently) are involved is proved by the fact that at least one family member has
been or is
economically dependent on shipbuilding and repairing activities. The local community was
developed following the establishment of local enterprises, which, during 80s especially, used
to yield 150 to 200 billion drachmas per year.
|However, by the early '90s the productive activities in the industrial zone of Perama began|
|to decline. This is due to a number of reasons, the main ones of which are:|
|1.||Intensive international competition. New powerful industrial units related to shipbuilding|
|and repairing emerged during '80s and '90s such as those located in Poland, Hong-Kong,
China and Singapore, due to the low cost of production these countries offer.
|2.||The extensive lack of technical support and the failure to create preserve and expand its|
|economic activities in the universal market have led to a poor competitive capacity
to an inability to effectively respond to the large demand for shipbuilding and repairing
|3.||Despite the fact that Perama industry contributes to 60% of the total shipping income of|
|Greece, it is not sufficiently and effectively supported by the state.
The economic decline resulted in a massive redundancy, which left the 85% of male
|wandering workers unemployed. Moreover, it affected internal relationships among
well as their way of daily living, i.e., their cultural microcosm.
|The cultural dimension of unemployment in the area acquires special importance since the|
|region is historically defined by shipbuilding and repairing activities by late nineties.
development of Perama, which culminated during '60s, has been linked, almost absolutely,
with sea activities. Consequently, the local community developed a high level of cultural ties
|and meanings concerning a number of dimensions such as intra-workers relationships
workplace and out of it, neighbourhood structure and communication, family, moral and work
|The paper then will attempt to explore from an anthropological point of view:
a) To what extent this shipbuilding community can be considered to constitute a distinctive
|cultural unit predicated upon a structure formed across time and space? Keeping in
mind that at
least a family member from the region is or has been employed in the shipyards, the question
involves the way and the extent to which the problem of unemployment has 'contributed' to the
construction of a cultural distancing characterized by symbolic and geographical boundaries.
How then, can we define the routes via which exclusion from employment creates (or not)
cultural boundaries? How these boundaries emerge as new organisational maps of cultural
conduct when coming from historically defined structures?
|b) The last issue puts forward the elaboration of the concept of identity and the content it|
|gains according to the context it is used. It is my view that the term has become
too wide and
loose and that the 'objectified' persons are not exclusively preoccupied with their identities as
the anthropological/sociological literature make us think. In the case of Perama the concept of
identity is too holistic to be applied as it neglects internal hierarchies and cleavages among
working class people. Thus, the term as analytical category should be redefined.
|c) In addition, it is interesting to investigate how anthropological research can be conducted|
|in urban spaces. The social actors do not form closed communities, as they are embedded
hierarchical processes and nests of power relationships. In this case anthropology has a unique
opportunity to avoid the exoticisation of the 'objects' of study and to reconceptualise the notion
of the 'field'. Thus, Perama, provides the chance for a multi-sited ethnography and puts
forward the methodological question of how to become aware about the biases and the
preformed realities of the our taken for granted present.
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