Fixing rural development cooperation? Not in situations involving blurring and fluidity

L.H.M. Umans, A.M.G. Arce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Rural development cooperation often took the form of a fix: external actors fixed a problem by introducing a fixed solution. Since the late 1980s the increased recognition of diversity, embeddedness and complexity, resulted in a shift from a ‘best fix’ approach to a ‘best fit’ approach. Context specificity replaced one-size-fits-all models. Yet in the specific case of forestry cooperation with the Yuracaré in Bolivia, it is argued no fit-in-context was found because of blurred phenomena and a confusing development situation. Moreover, the Yuracaré together with a Bolivian NGO blurred boundaries, reworked categorical divisions, and intermingled knowledge. This case sensitizes policy and rural development actors more generally to a novel conceptual and ontological perspective on such unstable situations, which revolve around fluidity. Fluid situations call for a rural development approach labelled ‘go-with-the-flow’. Recognizing the heterogeneity of development situations implies that any singular approach to realise rural development is at best partial
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-344
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • forest management


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