Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 53–64 | Cite as

Renovating dependency and self-reliance for participatory sustainable development

  • Nancy Grudens-Schuck
  • Will Allen
  • Tasha M. Hargrove
  • Margaret Kilvington


Dependency stands for manygrievances and is generally considered asymptom of oppression. An opposing concept,offered as the preferred state, isself-reliance. Dependency and self-reliance arekey concepts in sustainable developmentprograms that feature participatory approaches.Some of the ways in which development projectsemploy the concepts of dependency andself-reliance, however, are troubling.Dependency and self-reliance in two programsfor participatory sustainable development areexamined, one in Canada and the other in NewZealand. Frameworks for dependency and self-reliance aredrawn from social psychology and philosophy toexamine problematic aspects associated with theconcepts. Analysis produced a proposal foruse of the term situatedinterdependence as a way to cast the outcomesof participatory sustainable development moreprecisely. The location of the cases (Canadaand New Zealand) centers the discussion withina context of industrialized agriculture, butalso points to issues pertinent to developingcountries.

Canada Dependency Environmental management Evaluation Interdependence New Zealand Participatory development Self-reliance Sustainable development 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Grudens-Schuck
    • 1
  • Will Allen
    • 2
  • Tasha M. Hargrove
    • 3
  • Margaret Kilvington
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Education and StudiesIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Collaborative Learning for Environmental ManagementLandcare ResearchLincolnNew Zealand
  3. 3.Tuskegee UniversityTuskegeeUSA

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