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Collective action in plant genetic resources management: gendered rules of reputation, trust and reciprocity in Kerala, India

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  • Padmanabhan, Martina Aruna

Abstract

"Collective action aims at the joint management of common pool resources. Agrobiodiversity at the community level is conceptualized as a collective resource requiring the management of varieties, species and their interrelations within a farming-system. In the rice dominated agriculture in the uplands of Kerala, India, few community groups continue maintaining and thus conserving their high diversity in landraces. Faced with the challenges of devastating prices for rice, their traditional system of collective action to exchange seed material and knowledge is endangered. A new institutional mechanism to manage biodiversity is the People's Biodiversity Register, a mandatory documentation procedure to enable cost and benefit sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity. The comparative analysis of these contrasting cases of an indigenous and an administered effort is concerned with the importance of the analytical category of gender for the rules structuring the actions of the groups. Gender is perceived as an institution, constructing regulations of access and conduct for its members, shaping the room to maneuver. Do the core elements constituting collective action, namely reputation, trust and reciprocity imply different consequences for men and women? Do the rules structuring group mobilization imply different consequences for men and women in the same given context and regarding the management of the same resource? Where do we observe differences and to which effect? Since action resources are very much determined by the existing construction of gender, the question is how does collective action enlarge or inhibit the choices of men and women. Based on 2005 empirical data, the paper analyzes the tribal community of Kurichyas and the People's Biodiversity Register with special emphasis on the analytical category of gender concerning the core elements trust, reciprocity and reputation of collective action." Author's Abstract

Suggested Citation

  • Padmanabhan, Martina Aruna, 2006. "Collective action in plant genetic resources management: gendered rules of reputation, trust and reciprocity in Kerala, India," CAPRi working papers 56, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:worpps:56
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Agrawal, Arun, 2001. "Common Property Institutions and Sustainable Governance of Resources," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(10), pages 1649-1672, October.
    2. Jones, Eric C., 2004. "Wealth-Based Trust and the Development of Collective Action," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 691-711, April.
    3. de Groot, Rudolf S. & Wilson, Matthew A. & Boumans, Roelof M. J., 2002. "A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 393-408, June.
    4. Swanson, Timothy & Goschl, Timo, 2000. "Property rights issues involving plant genetic resources: implications of ownership for economic efficiency," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 75-92, January.
    5. Agarwal, Bina, 2000. "Conceptualising Environmental Collective Action: Why Gender Matters," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(3), pages 283-310, May.
    6. Veron, Rene, 2001. "The "New" Kerala Model: Lessons for Sustainable Development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 601-617, April.
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