Narratives of scarcity and the global land rush

by Ian Scoones Narratives of scarcity dominate policy discourses about resources, including land. This was certainly the case during the peak of the global land rush, as we show in a paper recently published online in Geoforum (open access, which is part of a forthcoming special issue on the politics of scarcity) The paper is written with Rebecca…

BioLeft: experimenting with open source seed innovation in Argentina

by Patrick van Zwanenberg and Anabel Marin (Conicet / Cenit / UNSAM) It is sometimes said that plant breeders breed their aspirations about how agricultural production systems ought to function directly into their seed varieties. Over the last three decades there has been a collapse in the diversity of seed breeders (and with it the…

Contextualising life histories in Tamil Nadu

by Divya Sharma and V. Gajendra, Relational Pathways project In the Relational Pathways project we are trying to understand the pathways in and out of poverty for farmers in India and Kenya. ‘Green Revolutions’ are a prominent way of discussing how farmers can benefit from technology. In Tamil Nadu, India, we have been using a…

Creating a map with drawings and colourful objects

Mapping a transforming world in the Sierra Huichol, Mexico

by Shiara González, Lakshmi Charli-Joseph, and Beth Tellman The Wixáritari communities, better known as Huichol, are mainly located within the Sierra Madre Occidental, north of Jalisco state, Mexico. These communities, like many others in the world, and particularly in the Americas, are subject to pressures from the ‘Western’ world which are the catalyst for many…

Women working in a waterlogged field

What role does rural people’s agency play in finding pathways out of poverty?

by Saurabh Arora, Divya Sharma, M. Vijaybaskar, Ajit Menon and Joanes Atela This is the inaugural blog post for the project Relational Pathways: Mapping Agency and Poverty Dynamics through Green Revolutions. Based on extensive fieldwork in India and Kenya, we are developing a relational pathways approach, which posits poverty as a process rather than as…

Why killing reindeer is poor science

The Norwegian state has ordered Sami reindeer owners to reduce the size of their herds to the ‘carrying capacity’ deemed acceptable by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, arguing that high stocking rates detrimentally affect the fragile tundra ecosystem. Herder Jovvset Ánte Sara has been battling the state in the courts, resisting the requirement to reduce his…

The many futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa

A 2016 article by Andy Catley, Jeremy Lind and Ian Scoones – The futures of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa: pathways of growth and change – outlines the different pathways of change emerging in the Horn of Africa. It is published in the Revue scientifique et technique (International Office of Epizootics) and is part of a special issue edited by…

Just Transitions as a process with communities, not for communities

Societal transitions towards a new energy regime are underway in order to shift society back towards a more sustainable state of functioning. However, this pathway is not without trade-offs and equity challenges, related not only to the future distribution and production of energy from renewable energy sources, but also for communities that have supported the…

Open science hardware across the Andes

After an intense programme of Open Scientific Hardware (OScH) workshops in Argentina and Chile, researchers André Chagas (University of Tübingen) and Ben Paffhausen (Freie Universität, Berlin) go back home with less material in their luggage but with a bunch of future projects, new friends, stories… And empanadas, for sure! The workshops were organised by Fernan…

New insights on navigating complexity in development

by Marina Apgar and Eric Kasper, Institute of Development Studies The challenges of development are complex. Insights about the nature of complexity – coming from various scientific disciplines – lead us to conclude that complex adaptive (social) systems cannot be managed in a formal top-down sense. The best we can do is to find ways…