A new way of bringing ‘farms’ and ‘systems’ together

by Jim Sumberg, Stephen Whitfield and Ken Giller How do we understand farms as systems, and farms as part of systems? The terms and definitions that researchers use affect how we see farming and agriculture in relation to ecology, society and politics. So is it time for a rethink? The words ‘farm’ (or ‘farming’) and…

Could the 3Ds breathe new life into farming systems research?

by Jim Sumberg, STEPS centre research fellow Hans Ruthenberg Hans Ruthenberg’s Farming Systems in the Tropics, first published in 1971, still stands as a classic. Through detailed and systematic treatment of the major tropical farming systems, he demonstrates how – in principle and in practical application – systems theory can be brought to bear on…

REVOLUTIONISING DEVELOPMENT: WHOSE FUTURE COUNTS?

By Melissa Leach, STEPS Centre director I first worked with Robert Chambers as a research assistant when I was little more than an undergraduate myself. In the book ‘Revolutionising Development’, launched last Friday, I write about the specific piece of research we did together, and its legacies. However, over twenty years as a colleague at…

POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE IN SUSTAINABLE SOCIO-TECHNICAL TRANSITIONS

By ADRIAN SMITH, STEPS Centre member The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg brought forward cross-cutting commitments to a ten-year framework of programmes on sustainable production and consumption systems (i.e. environmentally sound and socially just). An increasing number of governments, businesses and civil society groups are considering how reformed governance might bring such…

LOCKED OUT OF THE INNOVATION PROCESS?

By ADRIAN SMITH, STEPS Centre member Wealthier, northern societies are deeply embedded in unsustainable technological practices and consumption patterns, but these development paths tend to lock-out poorer communities in the south. And current drivers of globalisation risk furthering these processes of problematic inclusion and exclusion in different settings. (photo credit: Trevor Samson/World Bank)STEPS co-director Andy…