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Reflections on my immersion in India (PLA 57)

Gary Fields

Journal article

The articles in Section 3 of PLA 57 are a collection of individual testimonies written by some of those who have taken part in immersions. This account was written following a SEWA-organised Exposure and Dialogue Programme (EDP) in Gujarat in January 2004. The author was one of a group of development analysts who preceded their discussions about labour markets, trade and poverty with exposure to the lives of six SEWA members. The women's life stories provided a frame of reference for the technical dialogue that followed. The first half of the article gives a flavour of the SEWA member's life and community, while the second shows how the experience influenced the author's judgment about the minimum wage. As with all these accounts the comments reflect the author's personal opinion and perspective at the time of writing.

By their nature these are highly personal and subjective accounts. The authors record what mattered to them at the time. The act of writing is part of the process of reflection, which is so central to every immersion. The tone of the pieces and the choice of language reflect the intensity of the experience. All of them illustrate the power of face-to-face dialogue and the potential of immersions to challenge deeply held beliefs.

Participatory Learning and Action (PLA, formerly PLA Notes) is the world's leading series on participatory learning and action approaches and methods. PLA publishes articles on participation aimed at practitioners, researchers, academics and activists. All articles are peer-reviewed by an international editorial board.

Guest editors: Izzy Birch, Raffaella Catani with Robert Chambers.

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