Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture

New Books

Food Sovereignty, Agroecology and Biocultural Diversity

Constructing and contesting knowledge

Michel Pimbert (Ed.), 2018, Routledge, 360 p., ISBN: 9781138955363

Contestations over knowledge – and who controls its production – are a key focus of social movements and other actors that promote food sovereignty, agroecology and biocultural diversity. This book critically examines the kinds of knowledge and ways of knowing needed for food sovereignty, agroecology and biocultural diversity.

‘Food sovereignty’ is understood here as a transformative process that seeks to recreate the democratic realm and regenerate a diversity of autonomous food systems based on agroecology, biocultural diversity, equity, social justice and ecological sustainability. It is shown that alternatives to the current model of development require radically different knowledges and epistemologies from that on offer today in mainstream institutions (including universities, policy think tanks and donor organisations). To achieve food sovereignty, agroecology and biocultural diversity, there is a need to re-imagine and construct knowledge for diversity, decentralisation, dynamic adaptation, and democracy.

The authors critically explore the changes in organisations, research paradigms, and professional practice that could help transform and co-create knowledge for a new modernity based on plural definitions of well being. Particular attention is given to institutional, pedagogical, and methodological innovations that can enhance cognitive justice by giving hitherto excluded citizens more power and agency in the construction of knowledge. The book thus contributes to the democratisation of knowledge and power in the domain of food, environment and society.

Drought But Why? How India can fight the scourge by abandoning drought relief

Richard Mahapatra, Snigdha Das (Eds.), 2017, Centre for Science and Environment, Price: Rs. 240, ISBN: 978-81-86906-07-1

During 2014-2017 India was shaken by severe spells of drought that hit over 500 million people across geographical regions. Unlike in the past, these droughts did not spare the urban areas; metropolitan cities like Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru declared water emergency and several towns resorted to water rationing. Drought But Why? examines how an occupational hazard has turned into a human-made disaster of unmanageable proportion since organised agriculture began some 10,000 years ago. The book also delves into the experiences of several villages in chronic drought-prone areas of the country that remain unaffected by the scourge. These experiences show that India is a victim of its own policy that revolves around drought relief instead of working towards relief from drought in the long run. These villages offer the new commandments for drought management.

Understanding Global Poverty

Causes, Capabilities and Human Development

Serena CosgroveBenjamin Curtis, 2018, Routledge, 290 p., £32.99, ISBN: 9781138230774

Understanding Global Poverty introduces students to the study and analysis of poverty, helping them to understand why it is pervasive across human societies, and how it can be reduced through proven policy solutions. Using the capabilities and human development approach, the book foregrounds the human aspects of poverty, keeping the voices, experiences and needs of the world’s poor in the centre of the analysis. Drawing on decades of teaching, research and fieldwork, this interdisciplinary volume is unique in its rigorous application of the multiple disciplines of anthropology, sociology, political science, public health and economics to the phenomenon of global poverty.

This book is an accessible and engaging introduction to the key issues surrounding poverty, with key questions, case studies, discussion questions and further reading suggestions to support learning. Perfect as an introductory textbook for postgraduates and upper level undergraduates, Understanding Global Poverty will also be a valuable resource to policy makers and development practitioners looking for a comprehensive guide to the theoretical frameworks of poverty through the lens of human development.

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