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2 Investigating Knowledge

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Chapter Summary

Many different, and often conflicting, approaches have been used to study knowledge. Notable among these are modernisation, constructivism, Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK), Farmer First and Beyond Farmer First approaches. The modernisation perspective gave rise to the Transfer Of Technology model (TOT) in which knowledge was viewed as only that which could be transferred from scientists to farmers. This is the approach that both the colonial and post-colonial governments in Zimbabwe have adhered to. The chapter offers a critique of modernization approaches to understanding knowledge and advocates constructivist approaches to knowledge. It also discusses and introduces the actor-oriented approach to understanding social phenomena, including knowledge production, and discusses the benefits of studying and understanding knowledge within the context in which it is produced. The chapter explores why knowledge experts and farmers tend to approach phenomena differently, giving rise to different perspectives on knowledge.

Keywords:actor-oriented approach; constructivism; farmer knowledge; ITK (Indigenous Technical Knowledge); knowledge production; Transfer Of Technology model (TOT); Zimbabwe



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