Date of Award

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Sciences


Susan S. Wadley


Agrarian Studies, Anthropology of Development, Gender Studies, Science, Technology and Society

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This dissertation is a qualitative examination of the functioning of a rural

development project in a Himalayan region of India, with a special focus on a

particular project activity centred around an agro-ecological method of crop

production, the System of Crop Intensification (SCI). Environmental changes and

disasters along with rapid transformations in the rural economy in Uttarakhand has

engendered a renewed interest in non-mainstream farming practices. However, the

success and/or failure rates of adoption of new agricultural methods and technologies

remains a poorly understood phenomenon. Studies of adoption rates tend to focus on

the aspects of the technology itself, rather than its social life.

Drawing from science, technology and society studies, agrarian studies, scholarship

on rural livelihoods, political ecology, gender studies and practice theory, this

research study examines how the discourse of SCI is articulated differently in

different spaces, and the implications of these variations for extension and adoption

practices. Beginning with the construction of knowledge at the institutional level, the

research study first traces who articulates what, and how and why this process takes

place, in both the national and regional contexts. Second, it examines how

contestations in discourse translate into mediated practices and outcomes. Finally, the

study focuses on the embodied identities of field development workers and the

inhibitory as well as emancipatory effects of the structuring elements of the

organisation. The study finds that SCI, and rural development projects more broadly,

are co-produced both discursively and in practice, by project planners, development

workers, and beneficiaries.


Open Access