, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 97-98
Date: 25 Dec 2010

Introduction to symposium on rethinking farmer participation in agricultural development: development, participation, and the ethnography of ambiguity

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The topic of participation is not new to efforts to improve agricultural livelihoods and natural resource management in developing countries. Viewed as a means to encourage more democratic decision making and increase ownership and sustainability of development interventions, participation has many advocates as well as critics (see, for example, Cooke and Kothari 2001; Hickey and Mohan 2005; Moore 2000; Peters 2000; Pottier 1997). Proponents argue that a wide range of benefits results from participation, such as improved understanding, “better” decisions in terms of efficiency or quality, greater equity, conflict mitigation, and sustainability (Michener 1998; Brody et al. 2003). The papers in this symposium offer an additional set of perspectives, in the hope of establishing a deeper understanding of what influences participation and how, in turn, this affects who participates, how they participate, and what the outcomes may be. The authors employ a diverse set of methods to explore th