By Eric Dudley
While reduction to the 3rd international really works it's always on one of these small scale that it makes little impression at the world's difficulties. Can calls for for generalizable activities be reconciled with location-specific options? The serious Villager considers how community-based technical relief will be made better and sustainable. Calling for improvement employees, coverage makers and researchers to place themselves within the position of the meant beneficiaries of reduction, it indicates concrete ideas for motion and examine. It argues that participatory learn and 'transfer of know-how' shouldn't be considered as rival versions for improvement yet fairly as complementary parts in one technique of powerful relief.
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Extra info for The Critical Villager: Beyond Community Participation
Inevitably, the process of technology design and anthropological research is circular. The circle may be legitimately broken into at any point. The anthropologist may study a social problem because he or she has a hazy idea that technologies exist to cope with problems of that sort. Or a designer may conjure up speculative solutions to halfunderstood problems. It is common to mock ‘solutions in search of problems’, yet they have a place. Flexible plastic water pipe did not come about through detailed studies of water shortages, it emerged from fundamental scientific research into polymers.
It is hard to know what we know. It is also difficult to realize what other people do not know. Sociologists refer to ‘the world taken for granted’ and the ‘mind-set’ against which an individual will judge new situations (Schutz 1964:229). In Ecuador, a colleague was demonstrating an improved way of making an opening window during a housing improvement course, and one of the participants was overheard to say, ‘I like a window in a room, it lets in light’. Traditional housing in the mountains has generally been dark and windowless due to the cold nights and the expense of glass.
It seems not unreasonable to believe that LEDeG’s work in promoting the virtues of the Trombe wall has contributed to the rapid dissemination of glass rooms. There is an association in people’s minds between four ideas: solar energy, walls of glass, LEDeG and progress. The Big Idea of the Trombe wall is, I suggest, being seen in two different ways by the aid interveners of LEDeG and the villagers. To the designer, the Trombe wall is first and foremost a heat-storing masonry wall to which is applied a glass skin to enhance the wall’s ability to gather and retain heat.