Monday, December 13, 2010


A framework is a methodology for understanding a problem or process. Thus the problem or process is framed by its methodology. Increasingly, there is an attempt to combine frameworks in order that the limits and boundaries of understanding may be stretched. Here we come up against two problems, one of analysis, and the second of communication.
When we create analytical categories, it is possible to differentiate between science and society, in order to understand each, but then we quickly discover that they are in fact so interlinked that they may be mistaken for each other, in certain situations. Happily, there is still a difference between a scientist, and a sociologist. The difference is in what each knows about science, and what each knows about sociology. This points to the key word, expertise. What combinations of expertise are neccessary, to understand the world around us better? If in effect the world is not to be broken up into science and society, or science and nature, it becomes important to define the boundaries of what constitutes expertise in each. Not that knowledge of one is mutually exclusive of the other, but to know what mix constitutes expertise in science, and what mix constitutes expertise in society.
With this comes another question, so how many kinds of expertise exist? This is based on how we classify knowledge; we have textual or propositional knowledge; contextual or applied knowledge, and the third subtext or tacit knowledge. These exist across all kinds of expertise, each expertise is a mix of these three ways of knowing. Each way of knowing has its history, pedagogy and vocabulary, and these help us locate different kinds of expertise needed to understand specific situations or problems. In addition, this way of understanding expertise can help us with pedagogy as well as vocabulary between different kinds of expertise.

sustainability in terms of vulnerability

The opposite of sustainability is unsustainability. In order to frame a concept of sustainability in livelihoods, we have to look at how different frameworks explicate it, but to complete it we have to include the narratives of those who experience it.
I would propose that we frame unsustainability in terms of vulnerability. The handloom weaver [a person who makes his or her livelihood through handloom weaving] feels vulnerable, to the progress of technology, society and markets. These come to him or her embedded in economic, social and knowledge frameworks that are less and less inclusive. In order that handloom weaving is sustainable as a livelihood, it is important that the weaver is sustainable. But an individual does not experience unsustainability, he or she experiences vulnerability. The question is, does the vulnerability come from handloom weaving; consequently does it mean that moving out of weaving makes the weaver less vulnerable?
I do not have any answers, but would like to explore this question from the point of view of the weaver. It is interesting that the weavers for who weaving is sustainable, are those who do not think in over arching economic terms; the social parameters of happiness play a strong role in keeping them content.
Education, health, home, family, community, these constitute sustainability for weavers, and is this not true of all human kind. So why then do we measure sustainability in terms of financial parameters? Is it possible that in fact handloom technology is ahead, in the progress paradigm, and it is society that is behind in understanding it?