Governing a Collective Bad: Social Learning in the Management of Crop Diseases

Elias Damtew*, Barbara van Mierlo, Rico Lie, Paul Struik, Cees Leeuwis, Berga Lemaga, Christine Smart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


There has been strong research interest in designing and testing learning approaches for enhancing and sustaining the capacity of communities to manage collective action problems. Broadening the perspective from well-known social learning approaches in natural resource management, this study explores how social learning as a communicative process influences collective action in contagious crop disease management. A series of facilitated discussion and reflection sessions about late blight management created the social learning space for potato farmers in Ethiopia. Communicative utterances of participants in the sessions served as the units of analysis. The study demonstrates how and to what extent social learning, in the form of aligned new knowledge, relations and actions occurred and formed the basis for collective action in the management of late blight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-134
Number of pages23
JournalSystemic Practice and Action Research
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2020


  • Collective action
  • Communication
  • Crop disease
  • Late blight
  • Social learning


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