Epistemology of development
and social transformation

A manifesto of the
Centre for Cooperative Research in Social Sciences
(CCRSS, Pune, India)

In point of fact, especially in developing countries, many attempts of economic development and social transformation fail to materialise as planned.

The reasons are many: top-down procedures of planning; concepts, objectives and models copied from outside; socio-cultural disregard for the population concerned; processes of transfer of technology, knowledge, systems of thought and patterns of conduct, which serve the ideological and material interests of dominant groups etc. (See Between Subaltern Participation And Democratic Cooperation)

The result is an increasingly unbalanced and detrimental development, at the rural, urban, national and international levels.

The CCRSS conducts such field research as to promote:

To this end, such methods are to be explored and devised as will reveal from within the social internal dynamics and the historical dialectics of the processes of change.

Relevance of social sciences to social practice

The formulation of hypotheses, the interpretation of data, the theories and solutions usually put forward in social sciences, are focused in the individual research scholars who initiate and conduct the research work as a professional activity. They address themselves to fellow professionals, policy makers or development agencies for the reason that the specific needs of these sponsors represent an obvious market for the ideas.

As a consequence, the research methodologies and the knowledge made available do generally mirror the prevalent socio-economic structural set-up more than the people's needs and aspirations. The production of social knowledge has become an economic undertaking, and knowledge a trade commodity the exchange value of which is, by and large, dependent upon the prevailing system of social relations.

A few basic questions

Who has the right to produce a relevant social knowledge?
Grassroot socio-cultural action and development
The subaltern rewriting their own social history
Under which conditions can a social knowledge be a genuine production?
What is development?
Recontextualisation of myths
Theory based on a reflexive insight of social practice
Systems of relations determine communication processes
Which aims can legitimate the production of a social knowledge?
Benefits for people
Understanding indigenous knowledge: example with the analysis of a popular myth
Deconstruction of dominant discourse: example with the portrait of Sita in the epics
Which procedures are congenial to these legitimate aims?
Self-learning procedures
Grindmill songs and animation
A performance capacity reactivated
Street drama

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