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Social Learning Towards a Sustainable World
Wals (editor), Arjen E. J.
Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen
“It was hard to come to mutual understanding…” – The multidimensionality of social learning processes concerned with sustainable natural resource use in India, Africa and Latin America
Rist, Stephan
Sustainable natural resource use requires that multiple actors reassess their situation in a systemic perspective. This can be conceptualised as a social learning process between actors from rural communities and the experts from outside organisations. A specifically designed workshop provided the background for evaluating the potentials and constraints of intensified social learning processes. Case studies in rural communities in India, Bolivia, Peru and Mali showed that changes in the narratives of the participants of the workshop followed a similar temporal sequence relatively independently from their specific contexts. Social learning processes were found to be more likely to be successful if they 1) opened new space for communicative action, allowing for an intersubjective re-definition of the present situation, 2) contributed to rebalance the relationships between social capital and social, emotional and cognitive competencies within and between local and external actors. Journal of Systemic Practice and Action Research 19(3):219-237. Download from: SpringerLink
Social learning processes and sustainable development.
Rist, Stephan
In: Wals A, editor. Social learning towards a sustainable world. Wageningen: Wageningen Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, pp. 229-244.
The Role of Social Learning Processes in the Emergence and Development of Aymara Land Use Systems
Rist, Stephan
"A typical traditional Andean land-use system was analyzed as the outcome of long-term social learning processes. From this perspective the land-use system is the result of coevolution between society and nature, representing a successive embodiment of ethical principles corresponding to different periods in history. Ethical principles, understood in this study as the main values in which social and spiritual life is rooted, emerge from and are shaped by a process of dialogue between the local worldview and external historical influences. The degree of differentiation among ethical values corresponding to different stages of local history greatly depends on the type of cognitive competence developed by members of a community. The interplay between cognitive competence and concrete social action develops through a system of rotating duties aimed at lifelong learning and development of social competence derived from the ethical principles of the Andean worldview. The equilibrium between cognitive and social competencies creates social coherence, which was and still is necessary for withstanding moments of crisis and conflict. The learning process evolve from single- to double-loop learning, meaning that an individualized understanding of the epistemological basis of ethical values becomes a clear priority. This allows time to experiment with the land-use system as part of a social learning process. The positive conditions supporting social learning processes were a nondualistic worldview, local autonomy and self-determination in social and religious–spiritual life, territorial and productive organization, low levels of formalization of norms, deliberative rather than formal democratic decision making, and a combination of increasingly reflective attitudes and development of specific social competencies among all members of the community." Mountain Research and Development 2003, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 263-270 Available from: BioOne
Student Workshop Proceedings on Peace-Building in Nepal
Ghimire, Safal
The document contains the results of discussions held during a visit to Nepal by Harvard University students, co-hosted by the NCCR North-South and Kathmandu University. Download pdf