Abstract In recent decades, most multilateral organizations and other agents of change have used the theoretical approach of sustainable livelihoods to guide their work. This approach has been criticized in recent years for promoting a short-term materialist focus in development projects, thus limiting its practical usefulness and feasibility. Due to the necessity for renewed proposals, a group of community cargos and researchers have developed a long-term comparative retrospective study that goes beyond the conventional approach. It provides a framework with a broader theoretical scope and applied utility grounded on local self-management: lifeways and territorial innovation. Our constructivist approach, based on Bourdieu´s Social Reproduction theory, is aimed at promoting and triggering a sense of territoriality within the communities and further onto the more extensive territory. Since the work was developed along with people from rural communities, we utilized the concept of Social Learning as to enrich the former theoretical principle. Introduction Sustainable livelihoods (SL) has been the most widely used theoretical and practical approach used by those involved with rural development in the past two decades (Chambers and Conway, 1992; Scoones, 1998, 2009). During the 1980 and 1990s, SL empathized with the concept of development which at the time transitioned from focusing on increasing economic growth to putting forward the improvement of human wellbeing (Chambers, 2003). Whilst the 1987 Brundtland Commission Report placed the concept of sustainable development on the global political agenda, the 1990 UN Human Development Report emphasized the importance of taking into account Sen's concept of development as capacities and positive freedom in national agendas (Sen, 1997; Solesbury, 2003). This evolution of concepts and alteration in schools of thought on international politics, was incorporated into the SL approach: emphasis on the poor and their needs, the importance of participation of the people themselves, the concepts of resilience and sustainability, and the importance of ecological problems. Thus, as Chambers and Conway (1992: 5) stated: ‘a livelihood comprises the capabilities, assets (stores, resources, claims and access) and activities required for a means of living: a livelihood is sustainable which can cope with and recover from stress and shocks, maintain or enhance its capabilities and assets, and provide sustainable livelihood opportunities for the next generation; and which contributes net benefits to other livelihoods at the local and global levels and in the short and long term’. As a result, the Department for International Development (DFID) adopted this hybrid vision, in the midst of a changing international policy panorama, and applied the SL concept in development processes of cooperation in Asia and Africa. Subsequently the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) did the same in Latin America, while other development organizations followed suit throughout the rest of the world (Solesbury, 2003; Scoones, 1998, 2009). In this sense, SL came to be the most prominent approach used by development cooperation and multilateral organizations (Chambers, 2003), and therefore an important theoretical and practical framework in terms of development over the past two decades. In recent years, a variety of criticisms have been made with respect to the SL approach. Some simply enhance the concept with currently relevant topics such as climate change and power relations (Scoones, 1998, 2009) without questioning the essence which gave rise to the SL notion; while more radical criticisms have questioned the concept of development itself and fully focus on the discourse construction and analysis, as well as new ways of constructing knowledge (Escobar, 2005; 2012). Nevertheless, none of these criticisms establish that the SL framework originated from, and continues to follow, the paradigm of development cooperation, which has managed in the past few years to leave the blue print behind, though still holding a top-down view (Long, 2000; Cazorla, De los Ríos, Salvo, 2013). Hence, it is still considered to be a type of imposed model of community development according to the scheme of Matarrita and Brennan (2012), and thus far, no one has proposed a way to transition toward a more locally self-managed model of community change. The purpose of our article is then to provide an alternative approach to the SL framework. We base this study on applied case studies where the SL approach was implemented together with the Mexican ‘Hernández X.’ school of thought in order to construct, along the lines of transdisciplinarity, the concept of lifeways and territorial innovation (LTI). For a full introduction of this proposal, we present the heuristic process and reconstruction of two cases of accompaniment by the authors, and show the steady consolidation of this theoretic, methodic, and practical standpoint. It goes beyond the understanding of, so as to assume and undertake the collective commitment of ‘learning by doing’. The results demonstrate a theoretically consistent proposal with a particular great scope for its application, as it manages to coherently bring together discourse and practical solutions. Comparison of case studies Below we address two case studies using a comparative method. According to Sartori (1994), this method is a means of control that identifies the factors which explain and interpret flaws within a given proposal. By case studies we refer to real-life phenomena, where individuals, organizations, rural communities, and the authors themselves participated in determining not merely an abstraction (Yin, 1981), but rather a fully contextualized research based on a relatively unified and delimited social event that took place in history, discussed later in terms of a theory or an analytic category. The authors have worked with the SL methodology for over a decade, participating in over twenty cases and more than one hundred Livelihoods workshops across the southeast and centre of Mexico together with diverse indigenous groups – different origins, languages, culture, contexts, etcetera. – as well as mestizo groups. Similar experiences have also been carried out in Cuba, Bolivia and Argentina (Pat et al., 2007; Ponce et al., 2013, 2015; Parra et al., 2013a; Gallardo et al., 2016; Liscovsky, Picone, Szmulewicz, 2016; Urdapilleta and Parra, 2016). For the purpose of this study, we selected among those experiences viewed as critical cases because of the particularities of the contexts in which they have developed, thus suitable for a contrasting and comparative analysis (Giménez, 2012; Flyvbjerg, 2006). The first case took place in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas, Mexico, where the conventional SL methodology was applied; this case had followed the model of development cooperation, intervention, and the need for short-term results. A contrasting case was later carried out in the Northern Jungle Region of Chiapas, near the Lacandon Jungle, where a tactic of Social Learning was used together with local and organized actors who work towards long-term results. In both cases, the vast majority of the population is indigenous, though they differentiate from each other for being in line with local politics on one side and self-determination on the other. The general setting of the region where the cases take place reflects a contradicting reality: great biocultural wealth attached to a social poverty condition of 76.2 percent of the population (Boege, 2008; CONEVAL, 2014). This is a situation the Mexican government has been incapable of reverting, when this could be done by means of establishing a minimum of services of connectivity and public assets in order to provide better opportunities of diversification in rural and indigenous regions (Levy et al., 2016). The main economic activity in communities where the SL and LTI workshops have been developed is agriculture, though there is an important and steady growth towards non-agricultural activities as well as a noticeable dependency on government monetary transfers (Parra et al., 2013a). The case studies First, we introduce the contrasting case studies; we then establish the differences between them; followed by a description of our new proposal and its principles; and finally close with a general discussion. The PADES case: Population, Environment and Sustainable Development Project in the Lacandon Jungle, Chiapas, Mexico In 2005, the Chiapas State Population Council (COESPO according to its Spanish initials) sought collaboration in funding and technical assistance from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The heads of COESPO also asked researchers of ECOSUR to collaborate in PADES. One of the main components considered in the project addressed planning, evaluation and dissemination of social and environmental policies, which ECOSUR’s involvement assisted directly to Parra et al. (2013b). Thereafter, ECOSUR academics attended meetings with COESPO and UNFPA in order to define and plan the project, and later on develop a methodological scheme based on the SL approach which already included concepts and tools taken from the Dr Efraín Hernández Xolocotzi (‘Hernandez X.’) school of thought. This part of the process was finalized with a pilot workshop. The ECOSUR researchers and authors of this article have been strongly influenced by the ‘Hernandez X.’ school of thought developed in the 1970s. It emphasizes agroecosystems: peasant agriculture as the empirical reference, and the human–plant relationship over time and space, including across cultures, as an analytic category. The ‘Hernandez X.’ school addresses the subject/object of study from a transdisciplinary perspective, focusing on problems as a whole rather than disciplines, and on analyses which might promote appropriate agriculture for the local social and environmental context (Hernández and Ramos, 1976; Parra et al., 1983). In the search for refining social interventions under the principles of the ‘Hernandez X.’ school, coincidences were found with the SL approach such as its potential for working with participatory techniques adapted to regional contexts, as well as its trajectory of applied initiatives similar to PADES. The proposed methodology involves an important initial requirement: a participatory diagnosis that sets down the baseline when working with rural communities. Due to the specifities of the theoretic–methodic material, ECOSUR researchers trained personnel from different state government agencies, who in turn carried out the workshops themselves in sixty-six rural communities, within sixteen microregions across the Lancandon Jungle. The workshop started with an introduction and agreements made between the village authorities and the government agencies’ representatives. At the same time, they recollected and systematized information available at the nearest health and education agencies. A couple of days prior to the workshop, a village transect had to be made in order to identify the main land uses and public services available to the villagers. The core moment of the course was when the village representatives came together to analyse, in focal groups, the village’s five Capitals: Natural, Physical, Financial, Social, and Human. The workshop finalized with ideas for future projects. In the workshops completed during the PADES case, the participant communities were mostly of Tseltal and Chol origin, followed by mestizos (Parra et al., 2013b). The information compiled in each workshop was systematized and analysed by the ECOSUR researchers and presented in the document ‘Regional Community Development Strategy of the PADES Project’, which was delivered to COESPO and UNFPA. The entire process lasted for a period of one year (Parra et al., 2013a). The Bachajon case In May, 2007, the Jesuit Mission of Bachajon (MB), which had long worked with Tseltal Mayan indigenous communities in Chiapas, formally invited the authors of this article to share the methodology with them. The MB was interested in this approach and also contributed with theoretical and methodic observations, however, the actual application of the methodology was carried out by the community cargos1 themselves. They felt that ECOSUR and the MB should work together to adequate the methodology to the Tseltal culture by means of deciding on those values upon which to base the steps to be taken in workshops oriented toward community change. In this manner, they hoped to develop an interculturally appropriate process of carrying out diagnostic studies to later on propose alternatives to conventional ways of promoting social change. The MB-ECOSUR team carried out pilot workshops to apply the methodology in October 2007, and the results of these workshops were shared with those community members with cargos in February 2008. From then on, the team made adjustments to the methodology in form and content in terms of culture, language, and territorial values. In December, 2009, in a cultural–religious ceremony, the MB – with the authorization of the Bishop – in the presence of the villagers granted the ECOSUR team (the authors and two students) cargos as trainers (Gallardo et al., 2016; Urdapilleta and Parra, 2016). This marked the beginning of a reciprocal and ethical commitment with the people from the communities. During the period of 2009–2015, the MB incorporated the LTI methodology in their strategic planning around the rural communities they normally work with. During this time, the MB-ECOSUR team trained twenty community members with cargos in this methodology and carried out eighteen community-wide workshops. Those trained, who also contributed with the applied adaptation of the methodology, then shared the process and their experience with one hundred and fifty other cargo holders in 2013, 2014, and 2016. In response to the problems identified by the cargo-holders in the workshops, from 2013 to 2016, using the methodology, the MB-ECOSUR team together with the cargo-holders developed processes, which they rather call ‘pathways towards solutions’, for improving soil fertility as well as water catchment systems. With the experience of a complete cycle of planning, a new manual was jointly developed placing greater emphasis on the concept of values than did the previous methodology, which originally focused on the concept of Capitals (means). Other significant changes are noted in Table 1 (Herrera et al., 2016). For the 2016–2021 strategic planning phase, the MB is currently applying the methodology using this new manual. Table 1 Comparison of the ‘Sustainable Livelihoods’ and the ‘Lifeways and Territorial Innovation’ approaches to community change Criteria SL LTI Paradigm Positivism Constructivism Knowledge construction Multidisciplinary Transdisciplinary Theoretical framework Sustainable development, development cooperation, intervention Social reproduction, social learning cultural control Methods Ad hoc workshops, Surveys and interviews Participatory workshops in community spaces Principal actors External actors carrying out development cooperation projects Community cargos organized into groups of territorial action Origin of the methodology The market: value chains Social learning territorial values Time-frame Short-term Long-term Goals Poverty reduction Enliven the territory by fostering harmony within the communities and fomenting a plentiful life Criteria SL LTI Paradigm Positivism Constructivism Knowledge construction Multidisciplinary Transdisciplinary Theoretical framework Sustainable development, development cooperation, intervention Social reproduction, social learning cultural control Methods Ad hoc workshops, Surveys and interviews Participatory workshops in community spaces Principal actors External actors carrying out development cooperation projects Community cargos organized into groups of territorial action Origin of the methodology The market: value chains Social learning territorial values Time-frame Short-term Long-term Goals Poverty reduction Enliven the territory by fostering harmony within the communities and fomenting a plentiful life Source: created by the authors. Table 1 Comparison of the ‘Sustainable Livelihoods’ and the ‘Lifeways and Territorial Innovation’ approaches to community change Criteria SL LTI Paradigm Positivism Constructivism Knowledge construction Multidisciplinary Transdisciplinary Theoretical framework Sustainable development, development cooperation, intervention Social reproduction, social learning cultural control Methods Ad hoc workshops, Surveys and interviews Participatory workshops in community spaces Principal actors External actors carrying out development cooperation projects Community cargos organized into groups of territorial action Origin of the methodology The market: value chains Social learning territorial values Time-frame Short-term Long-term Goals Poverty reduction Enliven the territory by fostering harmony within the communities and fomenting a plentiful life Criteria SL LTI Paradigm Positivism Constructivism Knowledge construction Multidisciplinary Transdisciplinary Theoretical framework Sustainable development, development cooperation, intervention Social reproduction, social learning cultural control Methods Ad hoc workshops, Surveys and interviews Participatory workshops in community spaces Principal actors External actors carrying out development cooperation projects Community cargos organized into groups of territorial action Origin of the methodology The market: value chains Social learning territorial values Time-frame Short-term Long-term Goals Poverty reduction Enliven the territory by fostering harmony within the communities and fomenting a plentiful life Source: created by the authors. In the face of the present situation, this process of continuous training and reflection within the territories is crucial. The people with cargos have been working in more than five hundred villages in the northern region of the state of Chiapas (UIA, 2010; MB, 2017), which are part of larger regional resistance movements up against imposed tourism projects exploiting their natural heritage or massive infrastructure projects based on an extractivist economy (dams, motorways, mining). These villages are part of MODEVITE (according to its Spanish initials): ‘Movement in Defence of Life and Territory’. MODEVITE is part of the National Indigenous Council (CNI according to its Spanish initials) who works towards the creation of localized communal governments and has joined the Zapatista Army’s initiative to form the Governmental Indigenous Council, whose future plans involve the running of an indigenous woman candidate for the Mexican presidency in 2018 (MODEVITE, 2017). Developing a new methodological approach: LTI The results reveal that during the PADES case, which for a long time has had strong influence over government and multilateral programmes to do with mobilizing Financial and Physical Capitals (such as the Puebla-Panama Plan, a Sustainable Development Project in the Jungle) (Martínez, 2013), the local people highlighted the importance of local organizations and the values that triggered their consolidation. These characteristics, however, are even more strongly expressed in the Bachajon case, where the MB’s work since more than fifty years ago, has been key for establishing this case’s optimal conditions (Flyvbjerg, 2006; Giménez, 2012) that enable basic mechanisms and other social actors’ involvement in the matter. In this sense, in the Bachajon process, the MB-ECOSUR joint team achieved their objective of generating a culturally appropriate process that includes diagnostic studies which guide the development of approaches for solving community problems and clarifying the most appropriate role of the Mission in community change projects. This culturally appropriated process provided the Tseltal people the opportunity to construct knowledge rooted in their own values. Furthermore, it provides them with the necessary tools to transform asymmetric social relations rather than aligning themselves with the dominant culture (Urdapilleta and Parra, 2016). The LTI methodology training is based on ‘learning by doing’. In this manner, the workshops are carried out for two days in a teaching space and continued in their own villages for the next two months where the ideas learnt are to be applied: Cultural Control, Human Capital, our knowledge and organizations, our land and territory, our life strategy, our home and services to the community, and our ‘pathways towards solutions’ as well as their monitoring. The first session usually involves a religious ceremony to welcome the new cargos lead by the highest ranked spiritual cargo holder present. The purpose is to motivate and ‘enliven the heart’ (a common expression in the Tseltal language) of the new cargos, strengthen the bonding within the group first and foremost, and at the same time provide a clear explanation of the learning process they are about to undertake. The training session continues with a group dynamic named ‘Cultural Control’, where the participants start by analysing the relation between their identity, as men and women inhabitants of the territory, and our staple crop: maize. A common saying in Mexico and Mesoamerica is ‘we are men and women of maize’, thus in this context it is always important to reflect on this fundamental relationship. Using a chart based on Guillermo Bonfil Batalla’s concept of Cultural Control (1988) for everyone to see and participate in, and using everyday examples of maize variations such as real tortillas and tangible objects such as commercial tortilla chips, the purpose of this group dynamic is to visualize where we stand as a culture. The idea is to reflect on cultural elements that have been imposed over time as well as the own elements that have been maintained, and whether the decisions over these elements are made by the people themselves or by outsiders. In general, it is encouraged to keep a cultural control which is ‘appropriated’, balancing local and outside elements, as long as the decisions over the latter are made by the people themselves; this way, we avoid extremisms of either imposed domination or absolute isolation of a culture. The cargos in charge are encouraged to innovate and adapt the workshop according to the village’s situation, however they were given a manual to use as a guide for the group dynamics in particular. This second edition bilingual Tseltal-Spanish manual was the result of a former heuristic process of co-construction and continuous feedback from the cargos’ firsthand experience in and outside the community teaching space (manual available at http://bibliotecasibe.ecosur.mx/sibe/book/000,043,861). Since the first manual was developed for use in the Lacandon Jungle, several changes have been made as a result of the different actors sharing their knowledge in meetings in different contexts (Herrera et al., 2016). We emphasize the evolution of the entire process: it has gone from external actors taking the leading role in the PADES case, to local cargos, chosen by their own communities, organized into Groups of Territorial Action (GAT according to its Spanish initials), and taking a protagonist position in the Bachajon case. Though it should be noted that there is an important time factor: it went from a short-term urgent request (one year-period in the PADES case) to a significant long-term strategy (seven year-period in the Bachajon case). Ultimately, the purpose of the LTI approach is to liven up the territory and foster harmony within the communities; not only spending a financial allocation provided by the government or a development cooperation agency (Caspar, Farrell, Thirion, 1997). For this reason, the new manual is structured to begin with the analysis of values, followed by an exploration of possible ways that the community may resolve their problems. The goal is to facilitate decision making with regard to whether the ideal community way of life is autonomous, appropriated, alienated, or imposed (Bonfil, 1988). This guides the entire process of reflection among community members. The manual closes with an exploration of possible solutions to problems identified and ways of taking advantage of opportunities; thus, a socio-environmental innovation is established and evaluated, and lessons are learned; this aspect balances that of the lifeway, which – compared to the concept of innovation – alludes more to tradition (Parra, 2012; Bello, Naranjo, Vandame, 2012). In short, the new manual is the product of a process of Social Learning, which we understand to be knowledge passed from individuals to the collective by learning from the results of purposeful actions in order to resolve a problem or make the most of an opportunity (Gallardo et al., 2016), and thus moving away from mechanisms imposed by external forces. Concisely, in this collective process of construction, we have moved from a SL concept – whose theoretical framework is rooted in sustainable development and in development cooperation – to an approach based on an agroecosystem perspective (Hernández and Ramos, 1976), a Cultural Control viewpoint (Bonfil, 1988), and on the theory of Social Reproduction (Bourdieu, 2013). However, in order to keep up with the constructivist paradigm, we emphatically point out the need to incorporate into the process local categories of thought, for example, community harmony and a plentiful life in the Bachajon case (Table 1). SL functions under the scheme proposed by Chambers and Conway (1992), whereas LTI consists of the components shown in Figure 1. Moving from the bottom-up, the lower level represents ‘what we have’; the second level ‘what we are able to do: strategy’; the third level ‘what we want to do: expected outcomes’; and lastly the upper level ‘what we must do’. The vertical relationships among these four levels, regardless of the various possible combinations, define a transdisciplinary action (Max-neef, 2003). However, if using it as a planning tool, the diagram should be read from above to below – moving from the people´s values on toward what they want, can do, and have. The latter three should be congruent in order to respond to their values. Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Lifeways and territorial innovation. Source: Herrera et al., 2016 Figure 1 View largeDownload slide Lifeways and territorial innovation. Source: Herrera et al., 2016 LTI distinguishes itself for converging in both practical and theoretical spaces thus, from an empirical stance, facilitates the identification of its specificities. LTI is based on the following set of principles. First, people's values guide the results they expect, their strategies, and their means of life (their combined capitals). Secondly, the main purpose of LTI is to promote a sense of territoriality, that is, to enliven the territory, rather than purely spending a sum of money provided by an external agent. Thirdly, the process should have a long-range perspective, not be limited to short-term perceived needs. Lastly, it is based on Social Learning in continuous cycles in order to guide seeking solutions to community problems and work towards an appropriated and self-managing territory (as opposed to living under imposition). Basing LTI on Bourdieu’s thought has led it to overcome the descriptive level and pass onto the analytical one. In this sense, we have found that Bourdieu’s theory of Social Reproduction offers a solid theoretic frame that we have been able to put into practice across the territory within the influence of the MB. Oriented towards economic development, LTI has emphasized the ‘economic fields’ present in the territory, particularly where coffee production is prominent. In this economic field several different actors are in play: farmers, middlemen, producer organizations, civil society organizations, government instances, etcetera. The actions these actors carry out are governed by a set of ‘rules of the game’ (prices, quality, varieties, and above all the distribution of the earnings). These rules are established by the dominant actors (agribusinesses, government, government organizations, and academic bodies in some cases) according to the ‘power’ granted by controlling critical capitals in the field. The set of rules in force is known as the ‘agri-food regime’ (AR). In this confrontation, the dominant actors seek to perpetuate the AR while the dominated actors attempt to change it; Bourdieu denominates this dynamic ‘Process of Social Reproduction’ (PSR) (Bourdieu, 2002, 2013). In order to determine the farmers’ capacity of transformation, LTI has developed a scheme that puts Bourdieu’s proposal into action (Figure 1). Each farmer cluster relies on a set of ‘values’ (habitus) that distinguishes them. The clusters closer to the MB recognize harmony as their highest value, which at the same time is fed by respect, service, equality and spirituality. As of this set of values – leaving the economic ones aside – the social actions of the individuals, families and communities, are determined. We are able to recognize Bourdieu’s habitus in these values, which he argues are strongly internalized by the actors themselves and from these emanate their ways of seeing, feeling, and acting (Bourdieu, 2002). The ‘capitals’ are located in the bottom of the scheme. This concept has been questioned due to some authors using it in with an economist overtone. Nevertheless, we have decided to maintain it because according to Bourdieu, it is more accurately conceived as ‘accumulated work’ in a way that is not only the financial capital, but also the natural, human, social and physical capitals that are the result of accumulated work (Bourdieu, 1986). The analysis of the available capitals enables an estimation of the farmer families’ capacity of action, recognizing the potential resources that have not yet been harnessed, and the ones that are not available and that would have to be obtained by means of negotiation with other actors (Bourdieu, 2002). The combination of the shared values and the available capitals allows for consciously setting down long-term objectives of an individual agent or a social group (Bourdieu, 2002, 2013). The families close to the MB have laid out as ‘desired outcomes’ (expected results) to achieve a nutrition that is healthy, sufficient and autonomous. However, when thinking from a community and territory perspective, the priorities turn towards social organization and self-managing, as well as autonomy and territory appropriation (Figure 1). Following these objectives, the tseltal people pose themselves the task of constructing a strategy, understood as ‘set of ordained actions in search of somewhat long-term objectives but not necessarily admitted as such, that are yielded by members of a collective as would be the case of the family cluster’ (Bourdieu, 2002: 19), that allows for a harmonious life. Nevertheless, in the current tseltal territory encompassed by the MB, there is a prevailing lifeway that characterizes the low-income farmer families, mainly due to the ‘life strategy’ they follow as a result of a whole life of exploitation and subordination. In this sense, the cargos have considered that in order to achieve the expected outcomes, it is necessary to move on to a ‘collective action’ which permits the establishment of a new set of rules of the game. Namely, a new regime, not only in the agri-business industry, but also in the socio-political sector. In this way, the strategy must take into account a change in habitus, the redefinition of objectives, the redesign of the activities carried out, and strengthening the basis of the individual and collective capitals. These changes, whether structural or subjective, will allow the construction of a new form of social reproduction of life. There is a current academic debate between liberals and postdevelopment sympathizers. The first hold key concepts such as individuals and the market, while the latter focus more on the significance of language. That is, their object of study lies on society, market and rights, whereas the others put emphasis on symbols, discourse and power relations (Carperter, Emejulu, Taylor, 2016; Escobar, 2005; Levy et al., 2016), respectively. Liberals claim that postdevelopment advocates operate a rather sweet discourse without any practical grounds, on the other hand, the latter claim liberals carry out practice without meaning. This academic dilemma is surpassed by the initiatives created by the MB, one of them being Capeltic, ‘our coffee’. These are, for instance, language codes concerning the community and the collective, which are typical elements of the Tseltal worldview, and for this matter is what requires more participatory action research. Capeltic is a registered trademark born from an entrepreneurial initiative of coffee producers cooperatives in Bachajon, in order to commercialize their coffee in cafeterias within Mexican universities; this is an object of study and marketing strategy from a liberal point of view. Capeltic’s purpose is to establish more direct distribution channels that better compensate producers, as well as intercultural meeting points that foster harmony and a plentiful life (https://www.capeltic.org/). Capeltic is an initiative that mobilizes the various capitals as to achieve the expected outcome of self-managing and appropriation of value chains across the territory, having first and foremost Tseltal values as guidance. Therefore, these social, technical, and marketing innovations make it possible to harmonize the practice and discourse in specific territorial contexts. LTI becomes quite practical upon moving from analysing the group of elements of the family´s strategy to focusing on just one – for example, the coffee production system. With respect to this one element, the community analyses the state of the capitals and the best way to use them (in the lowest level of Figure 2), the expected results, and the values (in the upper levels). This is an example of what the authors and community cargos have developed in a more detailed manner in the LTI manual. Figure 2 View largeDownload slide Analysis of LTI with rural communities. Source: Herrera et al., 2016 Figure 2 View largeDownload slide Analysis of LTI with rural communities. Source: Herrera et al., 2016 When the group dynamics cease, the partakers have the possibility to analyse elements of cultural, agricultural and religious control, as well as the capitals to be activated in order to maintain and strengthen the coffee system in an appropriated setting. The people from rural communities may naturally ask themselves, which ‘pathways towards solutions’ have we come up with to identify problems, as well as opportunities, present in our community and territory? The answers may be addressed first by evaluating what has been done and the immediate results of the workshop. Then, seeking experiences as references (innovative solutions developed by other rural communities in similar conditions) where future visits could be fixed, with groups of cargos who have effectively carried out their community tasks. For each visit, it is recommended to put together a report on the learnt lessons determined at the end of the trip. In our experience, at the end of the mentioned period of work 2013–2016, we decided to fully focus on the ‘pathways towards solutions’ to do with water catchment and managing systems for human consumption as well as agricultural use. The most effective catchment structures were the rooftops of churches in the villages – mainly due to their large dimensions – which gave this innovation a greater sense of community since the water caught is mostly used for kitchen needs in social and religious gatherings. Women have been especially benefitted from these systems as they no longer have to carry 20 l buckets from distant streams and water springs. LTI does not settle for universal values proposed for community development from an outsiders vision: justice and equity (Carperter, Emejulu, Taylor, 2016), but rather develops a tool to work with local communities in identifying their own values and thus making sense of their specific territory in order to proceed to local self-management, as proposed by Matarrita and Brennan (2012). The generalizable aspects of LTI are not the strategies and values identified in Bachajon, but rather how the approach was designed and implemented in the community. Conclusions LTI emphasizes the need to harmonize families' and communities' livelihoods (capitals) with their spiritual orientation in these specific contexts. It contributes to blurring the line of dissent between liberals and postdevelopment advocates: material goods versus discourse and values. The general principles of LTI are: people's values; enlivening the territory as to foment a sense of territoriality; promoting dialogue, and a long-term perspective based on Social Learning. LTI is based on those values that guide families and communities in deploying their social reproductive strategies to satisfy their needs for staple foods, organization, and territorial appropriation, as well as spiritual and other needs. The LTI methodology encompasses elements that may be generalizable in different contexts. For instance, people have conveyed the same prevailing values in both, contexts of beneficial conditions to articulate livelihoods and principles (Bachajon case), as well as contexts with a strong presence of government programmes and multilateral agencies that focus on the mobilization of financial capital (PADES case). For this, the LTI approach may be useful in rural communities and territories being threatened by external agents, however, it may have its limitations in more transitory societies such as nomad and refugee communities. This approach is generalizable not based on the specific results obtained in the study sites mentioned in this article, but rather with respect to how it was designed, implemented, and evaluated. Thus, analogous – though different – results may be achieved in other sites. Certainly, there will be variations in terms of livelihoods, life strategies, expected outcomes and values. Yet, the analysis of the case studies exposed above shows the usefulness of the LTI’s methodological principles when working with rural communities: it encourages people to reflect on their capitals’ availability and the strategy they wish to carry out according to their values and results they expect, as much in communities with external influence, like in those closer to their tradition and spirituality. It is necessary to assess the ‘pathways towards solution’ in conventional terms: technical, economic, and training needs, provided that through their implementation the community’s core values are fostered. The solutions shall never go against the people’s values and principles. One of the long-term expected outcomes in rural contexts is to preserve the practice of agriculture for healthy, sufficient and autonomous food sources. Hence, we draw upon the school of ‘Hernández X.’ whose key concept is that of agroecosystems, that is peasant agriculture as empirical referent, and the human-plant relation across time, space and cultures, as analytical categories. Furthermore, it is important to have a Group of Territorial Action led by local actors, though with outsider participation, in order to trigger processes of community and territorial development where the LTI viewpoint may play a significant role. The reflection of cultural control, for instance, is key within the LTI methodology; adapting it to different contexts involves using the traditional staple food crop within the given territory as an example, and conducting the discussion towards a setting of an appropriated culture. This type of cultural control is ideal because it is based on tradition though it nourishes external elements to their own benefit and may be used under their own criteria. If we apply the Cultural Control framework to the continuous constructing of the LTI methodology, we may argue that it itself is positioned in an appropriated setting due to its combination of international perspectives – sustainable livelihoods, social reproduction and transdisciplinarity – with national theoretic contributions – ‘Hernández X.’ school of thought and Bonfil’s cultural control – that nurtures the basis of practical elements and local values. Funding Project “Multidisciplinario y Transversal Innovación Socioambiental en Zonas Cafetaleras para la Reducción de la Vulnerabilidad” (MT #1,106,311,262) from El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, México. Footnotes 1 The Spanish word ‘cargo’ is used to refer to the position and ‘charge’ of people chosen by their community to provide a one-year service to the community in an honorary, rotating fashion. 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She has developed research work in Mexico and Argentina on lifeways and community development. Pedro Ramos is an engineer on community development, with postgraduate studies on ecology and rural development. He has developed community development experiences with organizations across southeast Mexico. Daniela Gallardo is an anthropologist with postgraduate studies on natural resources and rural development. She has developed scientific dissemination materials with research multidisciplinary groups that work with producer organizations across southeast Mexico. © Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal. 2017 All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Development Journal – Oxford University Press
Published: Nov 13, 2017
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