This book breaks new ground by describing and analysing the evolution of a sequence of approaches. Starting with the dinosaurs of large-scale multi-subject questionnaire surveys, and the biased visits and perceptions of rural development tourism and urban-based professionals, there follows a look at the explosive proliferation of methodologies and methods of recent years. These include rapid rural appraisal (RRA) participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and dramatic developments in the still largely unrecognized fields of participatory numbers and statistics, and of participatory mapping and GIS. Chambers shows how these can empower local people and provide rigorous and valid substitutes for some more traditional methods of inquiry. Also presented is a repertoire for offsetting the biases of the urban trap, which has become so serious for officials and aid agency staff. Importantly, Chambers points out that we are now in a different space, methodologically, from a few years ago. He makes the case that participatory methodologies, evolved through creative and eclectic pluralism, can be a transformative wave for the future as drivers of personal, professional and institutional change. This book is for all who are concerned with development, regardless of profession, discipline or organization, who seek to be abreast of the revolutionary breakthroughs in approaches and methods of inquiry of recent years, and what Chambers calls their 'unlimited potentials'. Published with IDS.
It has long been concluded amongst astronomers, that the stars, though they only appear to our eyes as brilliant points, are all to be considered as suns, representing so many solar systems, each bearing a general resemblance to our own. The stars have a brilliancy and apparent magnitude which we may safely presume to be in proportion to their actual size and the distance at which they are placed from us. Attempts have been made to ascertain the distance of some of the stars by calculations founded on parallax, it being previously understood that, if a parallax of so much as one second, or the 3600th of a degree, could be ascertained in any one instance, the distance might be assumed in that instance as not less than 19,200 millions of miles! In the case of the most brilliant star, Sirius, even this minute parallax could not be found; from which of course it was to be inferred that the distance of that star is something beyond the vast distance which has been stated. In some others, on which the experiment has been tried, no sensible parallax could be detected; from which the same inference was to be made in their case. But a sensible parallax of about one second has been ascertained in the case of the double star, α α , of the constellation of the Centaur, and one of the third of that amount for the double star, 61 Cygni; which gave reason to presume that the distance of the former might be about twenty thousand millions of miles, and the latter of much greater amount. If we suppose that similar intervals exist between all the stars, we shall readily see that the space occupied by even the comparatively small number visible to the naked eye, must be vast beyond all powers of conception.