Society for Anthropological Sciences
Oral Presentation Session
The comparative research on cultural models of nature among primary food producers around the world has always had multiple ambitions. In addition to serving as an exemplar in cross cultural methodology, the programme of research sought to develop rich ethnographic datasets of distinct communities of primary food producers that might benefit both the communities themselves, as well as policy makers with responsibility for supporting food production in diverse and pluralist contexts. Using data produced in both irrigated and rain fed parts of Punjab, Pakistan, we present some of the ways in which the work may directly inform development interventions. In addition, drawing on the results of all of the field sites that were part of this research programme, we suggest new routes of data production that can potentially be implemented without relying on the extensive engagement that is normally required of ethnographic research. We do so in the knowledge that while there are considerable risks to adopting a "short cut" approach in the social sciences, the scale of the problems facing many primary food producers today is such that we may not have the luxury of eschewing a variety of methods, including some that may be less anthropologically "sound" than we might prefer.