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Social development as knowledge building: research as a sphere of policy influence

Fisher, E. and Holland, J. (2003) Social development as knowledge building: research as a sphere of policy influence. Journal for International Development, 15 (7). pp. 911-924. ISSN 1099-1328

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/jid.1043


The value of using social development knowledge as a tool for building development policy was promoted by the British Department for International Development in the late 1990s. This article takes the case of a capacity building initiative that sought to build social development knowledge as a resource for policy formulation in 'southern' countries. Situating knowledge as a development resource presents difficulties for intervention processes that have historically developed to provide access to economic and social assets. This article highlights some of the issues involved in trying to build social development capacity and questions the suitability of this style of intervention. Inappropriate and short-term support for knowledge capacity building carries the danger that the traditional separation between the academic and practice spheres will be reinforced, making the process of democratising knowledge more difficult.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Economic and Social Sciences Division > Livelihoods Research
ID Code:32342

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