Innovation systems, Douglas, Douglass and beyond: using cultural theory to understand approaches to smallholder development in Sub-Saharan Africa

N.G. Röling

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Innovation systems (IS) are taken to be coherent and consistent narratives or discourses. This chapter uses the Group/Grid or Cultural Theory (CT) to distinguish four competing IS narratives, each with their own theory of change, criterion variables, strategies, pathways of innovation and designs for innovation platforms (IP):
1. The business model of agronomy (BMA), based on the methodological individualism of the diffusion of innovations and ‘agricultural treadmill’ paradigms and focusing on technology development to raise yields.
2. Package and value chain approaches that seek to enable individual entrepreneurship through access to services, inputs, credit and markets and other institutions that reduce transaction costs.
3. Promotion of rules and regulations (hierarchical institutions) to constrain the pursuit of individual interests for some public goods (governance, control of corruption, sustainable use of natural resources).
4. Egalitarian approaches that seek to empower, emancipate, strengthen civil society and enhance social capital.
This framework proves useful for analysing the history of agricultural development in Industrial countries and sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to point to ways forward for inclusive approaches to mobilize the vast productive resources under smallholder management in Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInnovation systems
Subtitle of host publicationTowards effective strategies in support of smallholder farmers
EditorsJ. Francis, L. Mytelka, A. van Huis, N. Röling
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherThe Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)
Pages202-238
ISBN (Electronic)9789290815617
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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