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Ursula Andrea Harman Canalle


PhD in Inclusive Innovation from The University of Queensland, Australia. Sociologist and Master in Management and Policy of Innovation and Technology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), specializing in social inclusion in science, technology and innovation (STI) processes. She is a community development practitioner, lecturer at PUCP university, senior consultant and researcher in in the field of science and technology studies, resilience and community development. Currently, she is member of the Pro-Woman Committee 2021 on STI at the National Council of Science, Technology and Innovation (CONCYTEC Peru) and District Councilwoman of San Bartolo for the period 2019-2022.



Analysing participation of rural communities in innovation processes: three case studies from Peru

In Peru, enhancing the delivery of products and services through the transfer of improved technology and its usage by rural people has been a fundamental method for achieving more social inclusion. Studies from different fields of knowledge provide important insights into how traditionally excluded groups such as rural communities in Peru are involved in different stages of the innovation process. However, very few studies have examined the nature of participation and power relations in technology projects, which are core components in social inclusion processes because they help to question the current institutional structures that justify top-down technology transfer initiatives that exacerbate the structural inequalities that are intended to be addressed.

The aim of this article is to understand the extent to which participation of rural communities contribute in building inclusive spaces in innovation processes. We present three case studies in which a new energy system for rural electrification was introduced in Cusco, Peru.

The results of this study show that understanding rural electrification only in terms of a technical solution that when is tr ansferred to poor areas generates positive changes, reflects a technological determinism thinking in which the technological progress inevitably bring shifts in social relations and not the way around, giving little or no space for social influence in the technology development. We discuss that promoting practices, behavior and institutions based on the conception that rural peasants are passive recipients of technology in innovation processes, reinforce the social exclusion of rural communities.


Affiliation: University of Queensland, Australia