The Centre was envisaged as a platform for the much needed dialogue between theories of development and practices of development. This includes internal dialogues between action researchers, development practitioners/activists and development studies academics; as also dialogues, most importantly, between action researchers, practitioners, academics and activists on the one hand and, what for want of a better term, one calls deprived and marginalized ‘communities
- extant (the communities we work with at CDP are largely adivasi [Gond, Kondha, HO, Santhal etc.) and partially dalit; in the states of south Odisha, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and parts of South Bihar and Bengal; our work usually engages with women and women’s collectives, but not to the exclusion of men) or
- emergent (emergent because our engagement with issues in extant community life also gives birth to or leads to the creation of new communitarian formations, as also new philosophies, ways and practices of ‘being-in-common’) – on the other.
Our work at the CDP is thus about
- Engendering a small process of transformation in parts of rural India, a process owned by communities in which the transformation process is being initiated through some kind of catalytic activity by the researcher, who is in turn making an attempt to know in-depth what is wrong, knowing with the community as co-researcher.
- Documenting the process in its infinite complexity and contradiction.
Generating somewhat abstract learnings and explanatory frameworks on transformation out of the experience of transformation for the development sector and the social at large.