|dc.description.abstract||PRA (participatory rural appraisal) and the more inclusive PLA (participatory
learning and action) are families of participatory methodologies which have evolved
as behaviours and attitudes, methods, and practices of sharing. During the 1990s
and 2000s PRA/PLA has spread and been applied in most countries in the world.
Among the multifarious domains of application, some of the more common have
been natural resource management and agriculture, programmes for equity,
empowerment, rights and security, and community-level planning and action.
Related participatory methodologies which have co-evolved and spread widely as
movements include farmer participatory research, Integrated Pest Management,
Reflect, Stepping Stones and Participatory Geographic Information Systems.
Ideologically and epistemologically PRA/PLA seeks and embodies participatory ways
to empower local and subordinate people, enabling them to express and enhance
their knowledge and take action. It can be understood as having three main
components: facilitators’ behaviours, attitudes and mindsets linked with precepts for
action; methods which combine visuals, tangibles and groups; and sharing without
boundaries. The interplay of these resonates with theories of chaos, complexity,
emergence and deep simplicity, especially self-organising systems on the edge of
chaos. Good practice has moved towards an eclectic pluralism in which branding,
labels, ownership and ego give way to sharing, borrowing, improvisation, creativity
and diversity, all these complemented by mutual and critical reflective learning and
Keywords: participatory methodologies; networks; pluralism; practice; theory.||en_GB