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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