Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Zimbabwe Bush Pump

This article talks about the Zimbabwe Bush Pump.  However, the pump is not discussed as merely an object, but as an entire concept which serves many purposes; providing affordable clean water which prevents disease, building communities by providing a community project, and empowering poor communities to be in charge of their own water supply.  The authors do not talk about the bush pump as a thing.  In fact, they state at the beginning of the article that they “…love the Zimbabwe Bush Pump.”

Much like the short film we watched in class today, this article gets us thinking about the deeper meaning of things.  The Zimbabwe bush pump is not just a water pump, just as the results of our research will not be comprised of one simple interpretation.  Likewise, when we are writing our research proposals, it is important to consider all of the implications of our research.  A reviewer who is not familiar with the subject may not be aware of how the outcome will contribute to research.  We might not even be aware of all of the implications of our research at first.  Perhaps if we try looking at our projects through a few different lenses we will be surprised at what we find.

De Laet, M., and Mol, A. (2000). The Zimbabwe Bush Pump: Mechanics of a Fluid Technology. Social Studies of Science, 30(2), 225-263. []

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely agree. Your point about others not being aware of the full implications of the research was played out in the Zimmer (2010) reading from this past week. It was obvious the researchers, nor the ethics board, had a sophisticated concept of the ethical terrain they were treading.

    Zimmer, M. (2010). "But the data is already public": On the ethics of research in Facebook. Ethics and Information Technology, 12(1), 313-325.