Special section : Subjecting the objective: participation, sustainability and agroecological researh
[en] Pariticipatory research ; Agroecology ; Diversity
[en] Science has a strongly religious character, it has often been observed. Scientists are typically priest-like, serious and full of methodological rectitude about the rituals of procedure for gaining access to starry truth. The laity rise and come to us to receive wafers of wisdom and sips of insight. The objective knowledge incarnate we dispense is everywhere the same: same wafer, same wine. Indeed, universality is science’s whole point. But what kind of religion is this? It is a faith that exalts monologue over dialogue, oneness over manyness, the general over the locally speci␣c. It is a faith that offers transcendence, not immanenceda feeling of control over space and time and of release from the biases of the local and momentary. It is a faith that contends that a single truth exists and is the core of life. It is a faith whose moral power comes from its claim that it has escaped politics thereby.
Not all religion, however, exalts in such unity, offers such a mood, or claims such a generalized authority. There have long beendindeed, longer beendfaiths aplenty that discovered the divine in the here and now of the particular, an immanent and dia- logic supernature that is us and not other, admitting and embracing the political character of the gods and of truth. Zeus and Hera are always squabbling, the ancient Greeks taught, favouring some people and places over others as a result