ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Wiebe BijkerSubscribe to Wiebe Bijker

Mobilising Discourses

Handloom is much more sustainable than common views and standard government policies recognise. Instead of a linear migration out of weaving into other forms of livelihood, weaving communities show a more strategic mobility - flexibly departing from and again returning to weaving, depending on circumstances. This mobility can be traced in weavers' discourses about their vulnerabilities and aspirations. This paper shows that the standard image of weaving as premodern, unproductive and unsustainable is produced by being trapped in a progress discourse, a poverty discourse, and a market discourse. An alternative view of handloom weaving as a socio-technology is proposed: understanding handloom as an ensemble of knowledge, skills, technology and social relations explains the continued sustainability of handloom, and also offers clues for socio-technical innovation and an alleviation of vulnerabilities.

Innovating Tuberculosis Control in India

Tuberculosis or tb is a very serious problem in India and worldwide, and generally lacks attention in the public domain. Scientists, medical doctors, health staff and community workers make heroic efforts but the innovative potential of India remains underused. This limits flexible responses to changing challenges and opportunities - such as, for example, increasing multi-drug resistance, co-infection with hiv, migration, new global health actors and funds, progress in technology - that tb control is faced with. More innovation and innovations of a different kind than new diagnostics, drugs or vaccines are possible and necessary. In order to strengthen innovative capacity, it helps to understand the efforts of coping with tb in India as a continuous struggle for innovation and control. Understanding this struggle and then strengthening the mechanisms to balance different practices of innovation and control are crucial for the future of tb control in India. Such understanding and experimentations would also offer instances of learning about how to improve tb control to other countries and to the World Health Organisation's global efforts.

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