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LaGSus / Sub-projects / Herero / LGS research project / Hypotheses
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  • Together with other experts from the Extension Services in Omatjete, the SARDEP programme has already successfully brought across to its constituencies the notion of development as a process of negotiation and thus of participation. This is reflected in the discussions and negotiations on the three levels of experts, Community Development Committees/the Tjohorongo-Kondjee Farmers’ Association and local communities. We may for instance expect to find elements of meta-language or meta-communicative reflection. It will be of particular interest to find out to which extent meta-communicative competence derives from learning processes taking place through the cooperation with and exposure to SARDEP’s methods and to what extent such competence draws on group-internal and culture-specific ressources.

  • Due to this explicitly communicative approach to development in the SARDEP setting, participants are aware of the need to recognize conflict and the need for conflict management. Therefore we expect to be able to record and observe communicative processes of conflict recognition and resolution. Notwithstanding the presumed heigthened awareness of conflict potential, we expect to be able to observe strategies of indirection and inferencing.

  • During the exploratory trip to the region in September 2002 the local actors on several occasions expressed their awareness of communication gaps and potential misunderstandings as well as of their social consequences in development work. However, it also became clear that they do not have conscious knowledge of repair strategies. We expect participatory research to lead to identify local resources such as the ”host principle”, the reconstruction of local knowledge concerning conflict resolution, culture specific forms of conflict management, and meta-communicative devices.

  • The change of social roles and hierarchies is more plainly noticeable in the non-verbal aspects of communication than in discursive (i.e. mainly verbal) behaviour (my own observation in Omutiuanduko, 18 Sept 2002). In Herero-society, non-verbal behaviour is first affected by changing social roles and hierarchies. However, it remains to be seen which influence verbal and non-verbal behaviour have on social change.

  • Local, national and global issues of development play a role in the local negotiations on sustainability. This pertains to the local perception and interpretation of terms such as ”culture”, ”gender”, ”history”, but also of developments on the international (i.e. Southern African) and global markets (see also Namibia Natural Resources Consortium 2002).

  • SARDEP seems to be very well integrated and accepted at all of its operational levels. Therefore we expect to be able to find out and make explicit reasons for the acceptance enjoyed by SARDEP and to inventory and describe successful communication strategies at all levels of organisation and interaction. While a final evaluation of sustainability will have to wait until after its termination in 2004, the project is advanced enough to establish significant correlations between communicative processes and what can be expected in this regard. This presupposes participatory research which includes a common reflection on what precisely sustainability means in the local context and on how this can be reached.

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