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"Tertius gaudens": germplasm exchange networks and agroecological knowledge among home gardeners in the Iberian Peninsula

AuthorsReyes-García, Victoria; Molina, José L; Calvet-Mir, Laura; Aceituno-Mata, Laura; Lastra, Juan José; Ontillera, Ricardo; Parada, Montserrat; Pardo de Santayana, Manuel; Rigat, Montserrat; Vallès, Joan; Garnatje, Teresa CSIC ORCID CVN
Issue Date24-Jul-2013
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationJournal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 9(1) : 53- (2013)
AbstractAbstract Background The idea that knowledge flows through social networks is implicit in research on traditional knowledge, but researchers have paid scant attention to the role of social networks in shaping its distribution. We bridge those two bodies of research and investigate a) the structure of network of exchange of plant propagation material (germplasm) and b) the relation between a person’s centrality in such network and his/her agroecological knowledge. Methods We study 10 networks of germplasm exchange (n = 363) in mountain regions of the Iberian Peninsula. Data were collected through participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and a survey. Results The networks display some structural characteristics (i.e., decentralization, presence of external actors) that could enhance the flow of knowledge and germplasm but also some characteristics that do not favor such flow (i.e., low density and fragmentation). We also find that a measure that captures the number of contacts of an individual in the germplasm exchange network is associated with the person’s agroecological knowledge. Conclusion Our findings highlight the importance of social relations in the construction of traditional knowledge.
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