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Agricultural Knowledge and Knowledge Systems in Post-Soviet Societies


Anna-Katharina Hornidge, Anastasiya Shtaltovna and Conrad Schetter

This volume addresses the crucial role of knowledge and innovation in coping with and adapting to socio-economic and political transformation processes in post-Soviet societies. Unique are the bottom up or micro-sociological and ethnographic perspectives offered by the book on the processes of post-Soviet transformations in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. Three thematic fields form the structuring frame: cultures of knowledge production and sharing in agriculture; local governance arrangements and knowledge production; and finally, the present situation of agricultural advisory services development.
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Creating Business Mentalities: Knowledge and Rural Development in Georgia from a Discursive Perspective



Knowledge has become one of the core concepts in discourses on development (Schwachula et al., 2014). Reports titled “Knowledge for Development” (World Bank, 2011) or “Igniting Innovation” (Goldberg et al., 2011) bear witness to this trend. Knowledge is seen as a main driver for innovation and economic growth, creating employment and income and thus helping to overcome poverty. The World Bank, which was quick to pick up this trend, began referring to itself as the “knowledge bank”, making clear that it perceived the transfer of knowledge as one of its main tasks for the new millennium (King and McGrath, 2004: 55). The countries of the former Soviet Union, the focus region of Goldberg’s report, occupy a special place in this discourse. The Soviet Union, with its numerous academies, universities and research institutes, had a well functioning system of knowledge production and dissemination in place. Yet, much of this infrastructure disintegrated after the dissolution of the country in 1991 and 1992 (see Van Assche et al. in this volume on the transition of agricultural expertise). This was especially obvious in agriculture after the highly centralized kolkhoz system, which integrated service provision, training, administration and marketing, collapsed. It left behind a large number of smallholders on very fragmented assets, often lacking basic knowledge and experience in farming. In Georgia, the situation is particularly complicated but, to a certain degree, it exemplifies the fate of post-Soviet agriculture in general. After a tumultuous first decade of independence, involving a...

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