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The ways we understand processes of agrarian change are pressing issues for policy makers and development practitioners. Interpreting changes in two agrarian societies in India and Indonesia, the author reveals how transformations to self are critical factors shaping change, as well as under-recognized consequences of development initiatives.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

Introduction

Abstract
As researchers, we are often in a position of explaining the usefulness of the knowledge we generate. One month into a postdoctoral fellowship at an interdisciplinary research organisation, I was sitting across from a senior research scientist doing just that. I was introduced to him as an anthropologist with a background in critical development studies: the latest recruit in the Environment and Development team. He was a biophysical scientist, working in a different team but around similar issues such as food security and climate change. He had had previous experience of working with a researcher ‘like me’. It had ended poorly, with the researcher writing a critique of the knowledge practices of a particular project. ‘Are you going to write a critique’? he asked. No, I assured him, I am using the analytical tools and methods at my disposal to produce knowledge for development, not critiques about development. I spent the rest of the conversation answering his question as to what I could contribute to the organisation.
Tanya Jakimow

Rethinking Social Change through the Development Actor

Frontmatter

1. Centring the ‘Self-in-Process’

Abstract
The actor, agent and subject have held a central place in development studies, particularly since the development impasse of the early 1990s. Since then, the effort to ‘illuminate the micro-foundations of macro-processes’ (Booth 1993: 62) has also entailed a focus on the actor embedded within a socio-economic context, in order to reveal the ways localised actions feed into broader processes of development (Cowen and Shenton 1998). Scholars have drawn upon practice theory which places practices at the centre of systems of domination, and potential transformation (Ortner 1984) and post-structuralism (particularly the earlier work of Foucault) to bring together localised actions with explanations of macro-processes, as well as to provide powerful indications of development’s unintended effects (Ferguson 1994; de Haan and Zoomers 2005; Long 2001; Rossi 2004a). Considering these important interventions, why do we need yet another reminder to make the self central in research about and for development? What do we gain from a reconsideration of personhood?
Tanya Jakimow

2. The Institutional Landscape

Abstract
Institutions as an analytical device to either critique or improve development practice have been central to research about livelihoods and natural resource management in particular (Cleaver 2002, 2012; Ellis 2000; de Haan and Zoomers 2005; Leach et al. 1999; Mehta et al. 1999; Mosse 1997; Scoones 1998, 2009). As I have argued elsewhere (Jakimow 2013a), the conceptualisation of institutions in these studies is often inadequate to the task, as it focuses on one aspect of institutions to the exclusion of others, draws upon a selective theoretical base and has failed to consider recent advancements in institutional theory. In this chapter, I bring together various analytical approaches to understanding institutions and draw on anthropological, sociological and political economy approaches to illuminate the processes of institutional transformation. I aim to build upon my previous work that re-conceptualises the ‘black box’ of institutions in livelihoods research by further developing an approach that considers the ‘self-in-process’ as critical to the processes of institutional dynamism. This approach, I argue, can reveal emergent potentialities of social transformation and better guide development interventions towards genuine actor-centred attempts at structural change.
Tanya Jakimow

Understanding Agrarian Societies in Research for Development

Frontmatter

3. Livelihood Pathways

Abstract
In Chapters 1 and 2, I explored various theoretical approaches to understand the self-in-process within a shifting institutional landscape.2 In a sense, the aim of such frameworks is to disrupt the simplification of social realities, to ‘render complex’ what might otherwise be reduced to an ‘object of information’ (Strathern 2006a). On the other hand, contributing to knowledge for development demands that this complexity be rendered legible, communicable in the language and cognitive frames of the research project. In this chapter, I outline my attempts to achieve these conflicting ambitions, to bring complexity into interpretations of the empirical material, while producing a narrative that is persuasive for my colleagues. This required a complementarity with the cognitive frames of the project, including a certain ‘logic’ to the collection and analysis of empirical material. I present the steps through which I did so in the hope that it may prove useful for other researchers of development.
Tanya Jakimow

4. Self-in-Transit

Abstract
Drawing to the close of our interviews, we would move away from a discussion about the past and present to discuss what future he or she envisaged for their children, grandchildren and themselves. Often the narratives till that point had been of hardship, but people’s voices lifted when they described their expectations that the next generation would be better off. The descriptions of hopes and dreams were at times disconnected from prevailing structural conditions, and hence difficult to listen to. Prompting was often heart-breaking and embarrassing, exposing vague or non-existent plans. We nevertheless continued to smile and nod, complicit in the co-construction of these future narratives.
Tanya Jakimow

Recognising the Unintended Consequences of Development

Frontmatter

5. The State and the Self

Abstract
Corbridge (2007) uses this evocative scene to argue that even small changes in the way marginal people engage with the state can be significant. It is an encounter with the state in which the widow is positioned not only as subordinate and inferior but also as a citizen. She draws upon the discursive resources that comprise the practice of collecting her entitlement, not only to govern her action, but in ways that can inform her understanding of self. Studies about the affective and emotional force of the state (Cody 2009; Navaro-Yashin 2012) suggest that the documents she holds, the atmosphere of the encounter may affect her in other, more subtle ways. Many can attest to the sense of satisfaction that a successful encounter with Indian bureaucracy brings,2 and perhaps affected in this way, the widow feels a sense of achievement, walks out a little taller. I agree with Corbridge (2007) that such changes in encounters with the state hold significance, including, I would add, for new possibilities for self.
Tanya Jakimow

6. Moral Spaces of Development

Abstract
In the previous chapter, I considered the possibilities for the state to contribute to processes of self. The narratives of people’s engagement with the state within their own life biographies was suggestive of certain opportunities and foreclosures of ‘self’ for the recipients of state-led development. The differences across the two field-sites in the delivery of government aid have consequences for people’s perceived relationships with an imaginary state, concrete practices and encounters with (representatives of) the state, and the provision of discursive resources, all of which have the potential to influence the ‘self-in-process’. I also mentioned a fourth way that the state influences the self: the potential for people to identify with the state, either through direct association (being a formal worker for example), or by taking on the roles of ‘development’ that are seen as a responsibility of the state. In this chapter, I examine this possibility alongside other opportunities for self that arise within the ‘moral space’ of development, shifting my focus from the targets of development (the so-called ‘developees’) to the ‘developers’ (Pigg 1992).
Tanya Jakimow

Conclusion: Decentring Development in Research for Development

Conclusion: Decentring Development in Research for Development

Abstract
In the preceding pages, I have made a case for ‘decentring’ or making peripheral the objectives, predefined questions and expected outcomes of intentional development. In this conclusion, I reflect on the value and limitations of such an exercise. Often the pressure to fit knowledge into certain ‘outputs’ that are measured against project objectives, pre-determines what is seen as useful knowledge and what is not. ‘Residual’ knowledge is not discarded as there is no opportunity to construct it in the first place. The costs of not producing such knowledge are evident in the failures of development intervention, as accounts after the fact have often demonstrated. An insufficient appreciation of context and societal processes can, at best, frustrate the ability of projects to achieve positive impacts and, at worst, may contribute to the underlying causes of the problems they are seeking to overcome. Rather than produce knowledge about a particular problem or solution, I suggest that we broaden our focus to first understand societal processes more broadly.
Tanya Jakimow

Backmatter

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