Accessing knowledge for significant social actions
A study investigated agricultural decision-making processes and patterns of different categories of individuals and households in a rural Philippine community. Indigenous knowledge appeared to be influenced by an individual's socio-economic status and gender. Sexual division of labor has sensitized males and females to different aspects of their environment (community infrastructure, services, and resources); likewise, in terms of socioeconomic standing. It appears that high socioeconomic status individuals are the most knowledgeable and also possess the most compact and general models for land use. Access to resources and access to knowledge are mutually reinforcing -- a property that would tend to accelerate polarization and asymmetric relations. Social knowledge may be differentially distributed due to the socialization each individual receives in his or her niche. Such socialization imbues the individuals with different selective filters -- or pre-attentive patterns -- which make him or her unconsciously regard some options as non-feasible or undesirable. Choices regarding time allocation, food consumption, and land use are constrained, leading to behavioral outcomes that may not be logical from the point of view of maximization. However, those below, whose latitude for decision making appears to be the most narrow still have some leeway for 'working the system.' The operational reality seems to be wide enough to admit the possibility of social mobility for those endowed with resourcefulness and entrepreneurial skills.
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