Farmers as experts: interpreting the "hidden" messages of participatory video across African contexts

Snyder, K., Cullen, B. and Braslow, J. 2019. Farmers as experts: interpreting the "hidden" messages of participatory video across African contexts. Area: Journal of the Royal Geographical Society. 51 (4), pp. 779-787. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12538

TitleFarmers as experts: interpreting the "hidden" messages of participatory video across African contexts
TypeJournal article
AuthorsSnyder, K.
Cullen, B.
Braslow, J.
Abstract

Recent scholarship has contributed important insights into the political dynamics inherent in the process of making and showing participatory videos (PV). As a research method and an instrument for social change, participatory video has both potential and limitations for overturning the power dynamics embedded within research and in development processes. This paper focuses on experiences of incorporating participatory video in land management projects in four countries in Africa. Along with other participatory methods, the videos represented an effort to include community perspectives and objectives into the research process. Analysis of PV has largely focused on examining the tensions and contradictions involved in the process of making participatory videos. There has been less focus on the content of the videos themselves and what it might suggest for empowerment, voice and representation. This paper attempts to address this gap by examining the implications of the narratives that emerge in five different videos. On the surface, the participants appear to repeat dominant national and global narratives about land degradation. However, the fact that farmers present themselves as experts on these topics and the ways in which they appropriate and reconfigure the dominant narratives, can be seen as an act of empowerment. In this way, they preclude the need for external intervention on how to manage their resources.

KeywordsParticipatory Video, Participation, Empowerment, Africa
JournalArea: Journal of the Royal Geographical Society
Journal citation51 (4), pp. 779-787
ISSN0004-0894
Year2019
PublisherWiley
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12538
Publication dates
Published online04 Mar 2019
Published in printDec 2019

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