Mobilizing from Appropriate Technologies to Sustainable Technologies (based on Grassroots Innovations)

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:24 PM
Room: Booth 44
Oral Presentation
Binay K. PATTNAIK , Humanities & Social Sciences, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, India
This paper offers an understanding of the concept of Appropriate Technology (AT) and points out its historic relevance from the standpoint of developing countries. The paper focuses on the evolution of AT movement in India and ideological contributions by various thinkers like M. K. Gandhi, E. F. Schumacher, J C Kumarappa, and others to this movement. It stresses that AT movement as a discursive one is not about mobilizing activities and people but is about  academic discourses on AT. And the paper presents an empirical case study of a social movement organization named Honey Bee Network, emergent of the said movement that does not represent the original discourse of the movement any more rather represents the later turning point of the discourse, i.e, the drift toward sustainable technologies. This drift is perceived on the basis of experiences of a developing country like India with regard to misgivings of western industrial technologies and their non-sustainabilities. Noteworthy, that this case study of the Honey Bee Network at Ahmedabad is in fact a network of three organizations namely, SRISTI, NIF, and GIAN which are to scout, document, register, and incubate the grassroots innovations that are based on traditional and indigenous knowledge systems and lastly to transform these grassroots innovations into commercialized technologies. The Honey Bee Network as a social movement organization has been analyzed from the vantage of the well known resource mobilization theory of social movements. Lastly the paper brings out the socio-cultural embedded character of the grassroots innovations and their resultant technologies. And it is further argued that, this bottom-up approach of technological development paves the way for sustainable technologies that are socially and culturally embedded and are founded on social participations. Such technologies are perceived to be representative of an alternative paradigm to that of modern western technologies.