Constructing sociotechnical transitions toward sustainable agriculture

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Author manuscript, published in "ISDA 2010, Montpellier : France (2010)"

CONSTRUCTING SOCIOTECHNICAL TRANSITIONS TOWARD SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE:

LESSONS FROM ECOLOGICAL PRODUCTION OF MEDICINAL PLANTS IN SOUTHERN BRAZIL.
hal-00512266, version 1 - 29 Aug 2010

Flávia Charão MARQUES *, Fábio Kessler DAL SOGLIO*, Jan Douwe van der PLOEG**
* Programa de Pós-Graduação em Desenvolvimento Rural- PGDR Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul - UFRGS Av. João Pessoa, 31 – CEP 90000-004 Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil flavia.marques@ufrgs.br - fabiods@ufrgs.br ** Rural Sociology Group - RSO Wageningen University - WUR Hollandseweg, 1 - 6706 KN Wageningen, The Netherlands jandouwe.vanderploeg@wur.nl
Abstract — This paper provides an analysis of knowledge generation and ‘noveltyproduction’ into new social arrangements within a sociotechnical transition scenario. The purpose is to contribute to the debate about convergences between creativity, learning and collective action for enhancing the sustainability into agriculture. By raising a Multilevel, Multi-actor and Multi-aspect analytic framework, built with elements from Multilevel Perspective and Actor Oriented Approach,we have examined emerging ‘novelties’ generated by family farmers who have been producing medicinal plants under ecological systems in the Southern of Brazil. This production system was considered as a novelty, being composed by a ‘web of novelties’, i.e. as integrated whole of new techniques and social practices that are at odds with prevalent sociotechnical regime. The ‘novelty production’depends on dynamic learning processes, related to knowledge contextualization, enabled through the mobilization of social networks, crucial for creating opportunities to bring together different bodies of knowledge. Farmers and other actors are creating spaces of autonomy in which we recognized some characteristics of ‘niche of innovation’, a social space where rules and institutional apparatus can beignored; it is a privileged locus for innovativity. Otherwise there are difficulties in stabilizing specific networks around ‘medicinal plants’, in this way it will be necessary to create political and social conditions in order to involve actors from several domains, like researchers, extensionists, consumers and policy makers. Farmers in seeking autonomy are renewing the agriculture as anactivity rooted locally and contributing to generate potential transitions to prevalent sociotechnical regime. Key words : technological transition, innovation, sociotechnical regime, Agroecology. Résumé — Construction de transitions sociotechnique vers une agriculture durable: leçons prises de la production écologique des plantes médicinales dans le sud du Brésil. Cet article présente une analyse de laproduction de connaissances et de «la production de nouveautés» dans un contexte de nouveaux arrangements sociaux et de transition sociotechnique, en contribuant au débat sur la convergence entre la créativité, l'apprentissage et l'action collective pour accroître la durabilité dans l'agriculture. En utilisant une approche multi-

ISDA 2010, Montpellier, June 28-30, 2010

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Constructingsociotechnical transitions toward sustainable agriculture Marques, F. C. ; Dal Soglio, F. K. ; Ploeg, J. D. Van der
niveaux, multi-acteurs et multi-aspect, construite à partir d'éléments de la Perspective Multi-niveaux et de Perspective Axée sur les Acteurs, nous examinons les «nouveautés» émergeantes, produites par l´agriculture familière qui produit des plantes médicinales sous des systèmesécologiques dans le sud du Brésil. Ces systèmes de production ont été considérés comme une nouveauté, intégrant un éventail d'autres noveautés, formant un «réseau de nouveautés», ce qui représente une interconnexion entre des nouvelles techniques et des nouvelles pratiques sociales developées contre le régime sociotéchnique dominant. La «production de nouveautés» dépend de certaine dynamiques...
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