Travelling in the social science community: assessing the impact of the Indian Green Revolution across disciplines
The Indian Green Revolution, which began in the late 1960s, offers an exemplary case for studying the nature of evidence and how it travels between academia and the public sphere, between different academic disciplines and over time. Initial assessments of the Green Revolution’s effects were generally positive; yet by the mid-1970s, a more negative view of its impact had come to prominence. By the 1990s this view was, in turn, being displaced by a more optimistic one. The aim of this paper is not to evaluate the impact of the Indian Green Revolution, but rather to examine how the different constituencies of the social science community have communicated with one another on this topic and to examine what facts about it have travelled over time and between the different social science disciplines. By their very nature different social science disciplines are concerned with different aspects of any given issue: an economist might be interested in the impact on output and income over time, whilst a sociologist might be more concerned with the impact new technology has on existing social relations, and a geographer on the use of land and water. Through an in-depth analysis of 76 articles published between 1969 and 2004 in journals covering the range of social science disciplines, this paper shows how (and how well) facts travel between the social sciences.
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