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Thematic collages in participatory photography: a process for understanding the adoption of Zero Budget Natural Farming in India

Walker, G. ORCID:, Osbahr, H. ORCID: and Cardey, S. ORCID: (2021) Thematic collages in participatory photography: a process for understanding the adoption of Zero Budget Natural Farming in India. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 20. 160940692098095. ISSN 1609-4069

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/1609406920980956


This paper presents the use of thematic collages as a methodological innovation to participatory photography as a research framework. Participatory photography was used to understand the subjective “off-script” motivations behind the full or partial adoption of Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) by members of women’s self-help groups in Andhra Pradesh, India. The addition of thematic collages to existing participatory photography methods was developed as a mechanism to better support the dialogic generation of new Freirean “generative themes” for investigation by a group. Further, the use of thematic collages invites the integration of “renegade” or non-thematic images into participant group analysis. ZBNF is an agricultural practice that has become an extension priority in Andhra Pradesh. It emphasizes the use of defined chemical-free inputs and regenerative farming techniques as a holistic approach toward socio-ecological resilience. As part of an interdisciplinary research project, this participatory photography design was piloted parallel to a soil science experiment in three geographically distinct agroecological zones in Andhra Pradesh. We show how participatory photography, with the novel addition of thematic collages, can be integrated into interdisciplinary research as a method to discover the root causes underlying motivations to adopt agricultural practices and participate in agricultural movements like Zero Budget Natural Farming.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of International Development
ID Code:96367


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