Opening up for participation in agro-biodiversity conservation: The expert-lay interplay in a Brazilian social movement [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 21 (6):559-577 (2008)
In science and environmental studies, there is a general concern for the democratization of the expert-lay interplay. However, the democratization of expertise does not necessarily lead to more sustainable decisions. If citizens do not take the sustainable choice, what should experts and decision makers do? Should the expert-lay interplay be dissolved? In thinking about how to shape the expert-lay interplay in a better way in agro-biodiversity conservation, I take the case of the MST (Movimento Sem Terra/Landless People’s Movement), possibly the largest rural movement in Latin America. The MST is in a process of turning towards environmentalism. It has adopted agroecology, a democratically oriented knowledge field. However, not all of the farmers were willing to adopt new environmentalist ideas and practices. Through ethnographic research, I analyze how expertise was recognized and redistributed within the MST, attending particularly to the role of MST coordinators and technicians. I explore how participation was framed and put into action. The adoption of agroecology brought to the MST a new and more inclusive map of expertise, but it also influenced new social distinctions within the communities. In part, farmers’ knowledge was labeled as ignorance. This may close down possibilities for dialogue as well as for sustainability. The paper suggests that experts’ power for discriminating among lay knowledges should come together with a responsibility for opening spaces for dialogue and action. One way of doing so could be by adding “interactional reflexivity” to experts’ expertise.
|Keywords||Agro-biodiversity Brazil Expert-lay interplay Framing Participation Redistribution of expertise Reflexivity Social movement|
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References found in this work BETA
Bruno Latour (1987). Science in Action: How to Follow Scientists and Engineers Through Society. Harvard University Press.
Bruno Latour (2004). Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences Into Democracy. Harvard University Press.
H. M. Collins & Robert Evans (2007). Rethinking Expertise. University of Chicago Press.
John S. Dryzek (2002). Deliberative Democracy and Beyond. Liberals, Critics, Contestations (G. Brock). Philosophical Books 43 (2):165-166.
Alan Irwin (2003). Science, Social Theory and Public Knowledge. Open University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
David Meek (forthcoming). The Cultural Politics of the Agroecological Transition. Agriculture and Human Values.
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