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Power of partnership conference: Poster: Mapping agency and poverty dynamics through green revolutions

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Mapping agency and poverty dynamics through green revolutions in Tamil Nadu, India and Machakos County, Kenya

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Power of partnership conference: Poster: Mapping agency and poverty dynamics through green revolutions

  1. 1. MAPPING AGENCY AND POVERTY DYNAMICS THROUGH GREEN REVOLUTIONS IN TAMIL NADU, INDIA AND MACHAKOS COUNTY, KENYA DATES: February 2017 – August 2019 PARTNERS: ESRC STEPS Centre, Science Policy Research Unit and Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai, India African Centre for Technology Studies, Nairobi, Kenya How is the agency of small farmers & rural workers constituted through socio- ecological relations, mediated by technologies, in Green Revolution regions? How can a relational approach to agency help us map & understand diverse pathways into and out of poverty? KEY QUESTIONS Fieldwork and open-ended interviews to assemble life histories of small farmers and workers that map experiences of work, changes in farming practices, livelihoods and qualitative shifts in well-being since the 1970s Analysis from existing longitudinal studies focused on the changes driven by the Green Revolution Multicriteria Mapping with farmers, workers, policymakers, civil society organisations and academics who study poverty through different disciplinary lenses to collectively discuss possible pathways out of poverty METHODS Life histories show how different forms of inequality intersect to shape non-linear and gendered trajectories of well-being. Subjective understandings of well-being and theories of change highlight: a) how multiple dimensions of deprivation are related (eg illness, housing, delayed wages, volatile crop prices, caste and gender discrimination, dispossession from land, debt); b) the ecological relations manifest in farming practices, bodily depletion and care practices, that have been absent from poverty debates in India; c) political practices of small farmers and rural workers and the limited sphere within which they are able to negotiate with and against policies, institutions and infrastructure that shape their lives PRELIMINARY FINDINGS Our audiences include: • Development practitioners • Academics studying poverty, agrarian and rural transformations Our research participants: • Small farmers and rural workers • Regional government officials eg village administrative officers • Agricultural extension workers, grassroots cadre of political parties • Farmers’ and workers’ associations + other civil society organisations active in these regions ENGAGEMENT & COMMUNICATION IMPACTS Emerging impacts are based on generating discussion on new ways of understanding poverty dynamics. • Life histories map the shifting relations between multiple dimensions of poverty • Intersectional experiences of downward and upward mobility • How shifts in agricultural reforms intersect with rural poverty alleviation schemes This feeds into critical debates on the agrarian crisis in India focusing on ecological sustainability and political practices of marginalised rural groups including landless workers. Workshops in India and Kenya will share conceptual and methodological learnings with wider community of researchers and explore how these can inform rural livelihood policies.

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