Telling Us your Hopes: Ethnographic lessons from a communications for development project in Madagascar


  • Antonie L. Kraemer



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.

Author Biography

Antonie L. Kraemer

Antonie L. Kraemer is a PhD student in Social Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). Her doctoral research, funded by a Norwegian Research Council studentship, focuses on changes and continuities in natural resource access in south eastern Madagascar. Antonie worked with UNDP Madagascar from 2004 to 2006, giving her first hand experience of the complexities of “development” encounters. The author can be contacted on [email protected] and [email protected]