Development and Local Knowledge: New Approaches to Issues in by Alan Bicker, Paul Sillitoe, Johan Pottier

By Alan Bicker, Paul Sillitoe, Johan Pottier

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And, indeed, these days it is essential to use consultative processes. But effective use of these is often quite another matter because basic conceptions of improvement vary. Conclusion For anthropologists to make any impact on these issues, they must be able to express matters of local knowledge and culture in clearer terms, terms that work in the target culture, and for the development experts. All too often we offer them bigger and more (and more complicated) potatoes, when what they want are small, low-yielding consistent potatoes.

It returned in 1985 and since then, its officials have been working throughout the region. DIGESEPE has a similar network of officials, albeit on a much smaller scale. DIGESA extension workers work directly in some 85 communities where they instruct farmers on agricultural techniques such as the use of hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They teach them how to improve their food crops production allowing for a surplus to be sold on the market and how to diversify their cash crop production of coffee, cardamom, fruits, pepper and tomatoes.

This is exemplified by many anthropologists, who self-consciously fabricate an impressionistic edifice in favour of a scholarly argument, neatly avoiding any problems that might arise from uncritical acceptance of investigative techniques and interpretation of data by eschewing both. I think that academic anthropology can benefit greatly from work that will assist the applied anthropologist by directing more attention to working models of culture. That is, to address the means by which a concept like culture can manifest itself in living women and men in a particular locale; how knowledge is distributed through a society and how access to that knowledge is manifest; how new knowledge is created, disseminated and reproduced; how old knowledge is retooled for the contemporary setting.

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