Perspectives: Strengthening people’s knowledge

In News by LynneD

perspectivesA new article collaboration between researchers at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) and the Food Sovereignty Alliance India calls for a shift in the paradigm around agroecology. The full article Perspectives: Strengthening people’s knowledge is available here.

The authors provide a critical perspective on the development of mainstream agriculture, which has largely been developed through scientism – a worldview based on imposition of a logic based on nineteenth century physics that ignores or displaces local and indigenous knowledge systems.

“Science has an important role to play in agricultural development. However, the marginalisation of local knowledge and priorities, combined with the overwhelming focus of science on improving yield, has pushed agroecosystems and rural livelihoods to breaking point.”

The shift toward agroecology requires a transformation. The article outlines three key aspects of this transformation in the power structures that define knowledge in dominant culture:

  • A broad shift to agroecology requires a deepening of democracy that breaks the knowledge monopoly held by professional scientists and powerful institutions
  • Innovation and development based on agroecology emerges from creative processes of knowledge co-production and mobilisation carried out by diverse collectives of farmers, citizens and scientists.
  • The political dimension of agroecology requires that its practitioners and advocates move beyond conceptions of the co-production of knowledge to take up the mobilisation of existing and newly co-produced knowledge as a part of political struggles and social movements.


Tom Wakeford (tom.wakeford[at], Colin Anderson (colin.anderson[at] and Michel Pimbert (michel.pimbert[at] are from the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, at Coventry University in the UK, which established the People’s Knowledge working group ( (Twitter: @peepsknow)
Charanya R. (charanya88[at] is a member of the Food Sovereignty Alliance India