Systems of knowledge as systems of domination: The limitations of established meaning [Book Review]

Agriculture and Human Values 8 (1-2):49-58 (1991)
Abstract
The hegemony of Western science, inherent in international development projects, often increases the poverty and oppression of Third World women by pre-empting alternative realities. In African and Asian agrarian societies women grow from 60 to 90% of the food (World Bank, 1989); they hold incredible potential to increase food production. Their ability to operate under more marginal conditions than their male counterparts would seem to indicate that they have developed valuable knowledge— knowledge often generated in response to limited access to the more tangible resources offered by development assistance to male farmers.Recognizing the marginalization of women in the Third World, the Women in Development (WID) network was established during the 1970's to produce knowledge about women, fill in the gaps, and set the record straight. But knowledge creation for these purposes leaves underlying paradigms of Western science-based development unquestioned. Research from a feminist standpoint is used to challenge the objectivity and reliability of EuroAmerican development science. To date, WID has documented and analyzed the causes and consequences of Third World women's oppression with no substantial results to end them. Alternatively, feminist research validates women's perceptions of their reality, helping ordinary people to understand the connections between their experiences and broader social, economic, and political struggles. The paper emphasizes research pursued in order to act, closely linking knowing to doing to promote the emancipation of oppressed groups. A feminist standpoint is used to privilege the perspective of rural women in developing countries and ask: “What are the implications of the standard EuroAmerican approach to science for maximizing the potential contributions of rural women to agricultural development?” Some of these implications are illustrated with examples from on-farm research in Nigeria. To some extent, implications can be addressed by constructing meanings to structure a symbolic framework that includes female farmers and other disadvantaged groups
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DOI 10.1007/BF01579656
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References found in this work BETA
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.

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