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PLA Notes CD-ROM 1988-2001 9 An encounter with a 17th century manual

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Document begins: PLA Notes CD-ROM 1988­2001 9 An encounter with a 17th century manual Keshav Gautam · Introduction to ask whether good intentions are enough. The concept and nature of a manual may be in In September 1997, I had the opportunity to direct contradiction with the very approach which it is introducing. visit the British Museum with some of my colleagues. As we were looking at some of the Many PRA practitioners have grappled with old books on a table, we were quite taken with a book entitled `A Sewing Manual for House this concern. For many years no PRA manual Wives'. This book, if I can correctly recall, was available and the spread of the approach dated back to seventeenth century. was through the exchange of case studies (e.g. in RRA Notes and later PLA Notes) or through horizontal links between practitioners. We were struck by the idea that manuals of Producing a manual was seen to be this type existed so many years ago and, before fundamentally problematic as it might lead to long, our curiosity led us to seek out many stagnation or top down domination. other kinds of manual. There were manuals for kitchen gardens, ...

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