agriculture

Citizen cartography, strategies of resistance to established knowledge and collective forms of knowledge building

Jorgelina Sannazzaro

Cultivation of genetically modified soybeans with the use of herbicides is now becoming widespread in Argentina. This work addresses an emblematic case of knowledge articulation between experts, professionals and communities, namely, the case of an association of people affected by fumigation Grupos de Pueblos Fumigados (GPF). The GPF warns against agrochemical spraying in urban areas, and its activists collect and disseminate information about its impact with a view to banning the practice. Here, we apply Parthasarathy’s framework, used to analyse the strategies employed by activists to break the expertise barrier, to the case of the GPF, adding a new category to her original four strategies. There is an institutionalizing potential in these social and environmental movements, many of which are organized in the form of Civic Assemblies. The composition of the assemblies reflects a heterogeneous and multi-sectorial character; they articulate a new kind of knowledge that can be an appropriate interlocutor for traditional expert knowledge.

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Participatory Theater as a Science Communication Tool in Timor Leste

Chris McGillion, Merryn McKinnon (SC)

This article examines the trial of participatory theater for disseminating new agricultural knowledge among subsistence farmers in Timor Leste, a small underdeveloped country in the Asia-Pacific region. The aim of the trial was to provide information on improved seed varieties and appropriate agronomic practices to maximize their yield among rural communities where rates of adult illiteracy are high and the reach of mass media forms of communication is low. The findings highlight the potential for entertainment-education forms to provide effective science communication tools in contexts where approaches more typical in developed countries are severely constrained.

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“Othering” agricultural biotechnology: Slovenian media representation of agricultural biotechnology

Jožica Zajc, Karmen Erjavec

While studies on media representations of agricultural biotechnology mostly analyse media texts, this work is intended to fill a research gap with an analysis of journalistic interpretations of media representations. The purpose of this project was to determine how news media represent agricultural biotechnology and how journalists interpret their own representations. A content and critical discourse analysis of news texts published in the Slovenian media over two years and in-depth interviews with their authors were conducted. News texts results suggest that most of the news posts were “othering” biotechnology and biotechnologists: biotechnology as a science and individual scientists are represented as “they,” who are socially irresponsible, ignorant, arrogant, and “our” enemies who produce unnatural processes and work for biotechnology companies, whose greed is destroying people, animals, and the environment. Most journalists consider these representations to be objective because they have published the biotechnologists’ opinions, despite their own negative attitudes towards biotechnology.

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Rural perspectives of climate change: A study from Saurastra and Kutch of Western India

Dineshkumar P. Moghariya, Richard C. Smardon

This research reports on rural people’s beliefs and understandings of climate change in the Saurastra/Kutch region of Western India. Results suggest that although most rural respondents have not heard about the scientific concept of climate change, they have detected changes in the climate. They appear to hold divergent understandings about climate change and have different priorities for causes and solutions. Many respondents appear to base their understandings of climate change upon a mix of ideas drawn from various sources and rely on different kinds of reasoning in relation to both causes of and solutions to climate change to those used by scientists. Environmental conditions were found to influence individuals’ understanding of climate change, while demographic factors were not. The results suggest a need to learn more about people’s conceptual models and understandings of climate change and a need to include local climate research in communication efforts.

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