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Agricultural Knowledge and Knowledge Systems in Post-Soviet Societies


Edited By 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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Knowledge was a highly sensitive and tightly controlled topic back in the times of the Soviet Union. Particularly in the agricultural sector, the production, sharing and diffusion of knowledge were coupled with the state’s aim to gain control over large parts of its territory and the rural population. Authoritative decision-making structures as well as a command economy were decisive for agricultural production for more than seven decades. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and with the emergence of the successor states, it has been an open question in which directions these rather rigid knowledge systems are transforming. This is particularly true for the succeeding states of Central Asia and the Caucasus, where we can find various pre-Soviet traditions of understanding and governing knowledge.

Exactly this was our key research interest over more than ten years ago. Since then the three of us worked at the Center for Development Research (Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung; ZEF) at the University Bonn in several research projects on Post-Soviet countries. Therefore the aim of this edited volume is to bring together certain thematic strands and regional examples, which we found illustrating for different pathways of defining and dealing with knowledge in the Post-Soviet era.

Our first encounter with the knowledge systems in the Post-Soviet world took place as part of a project entitled ‘Restructuring Land and Water Use in Khorezm Province, Uzbekistan’, financed by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and implemented by the Center for...

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