Telling Us your Hopes: Ethnographic lessons from a communications for development project in Madagascar
Keywords:oral testimony, natural resource access, participation, research ethics, applied anthropology
This article discusses ethnographic lessons from a “communications for development” project in Madagascar. Analysing the project’s methodology of participatory oral testimony, the article argues that anthropologists can learn from an explicit focus on empowering informants to become active producers of ethnographic knowledge, and highlights the vital role of communicating joint research findings to influential decision makers. The multiple, differing actor groups united by the project are also assessed, demonstrating how ostensibly incompatible rationalities became creatively translated into mutually acceptable forms, generating unforeseen, new social expression rather than a predictable, universalist development agenda.