SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

Rethinking technological change in smallholder agriculture

Dominic Glover (IDS Sussex)

Date: 23 January 2020Time: 5:15 PM

Finishes: 23 January 2020Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G51a

Type of Event: Seminar

Technological change remains at the centre of strategies aiming to boost smallholder agriculture. Two main approaches stand out: agro-ecological farming methods such as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and transgenic technologies, e.g. Bt cotton. While their nature and impacts differ, these may have something in common. Based on more than 14 years of experience in research, policy analysis and communication on technological change, Dominic Glover argues that there is an intriguing symmetry in the ways in which these different technological approaches were expected, by their respective supporters, to allow crop plants themselves to overcome the problems of agricultural underperformance. In both arenas, plants were positioned as carriers of technological potential, while farmers were relegated to a notably secondary, passive and dependent role. In this presentation Dominic Glover will outline his intellectual journey in this field, influenced by the work of anthropologists including Paul Richards and Glenn Davis Stone. Dominique Glover advocates putting farmers’ agency, knowledge, skills and practices at centre stage, critiques the concept of ‘adoption’ as applied to technological change, and discusses a new alternative conceptual framework.

Part of the Agrarian Change Seminars.

Visit the Agrarian Questions website
Independent and complementary to Journal of Agrarian Change