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Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 25;

The Traditional Technological Approach and Social Technologies in the Brazilian Semiarid Region

Institute for Research and Graduate Studies of Engineering, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro—PPE/COPPE/UFRJ, Centro de Tecnologia, Ilha do Fundão, 21941-972 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 September 2017 / Revised: 18 December 2017 / Accepted: 19 December 2017 / Published: 22 December 2017
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There are different technological approaches to deal with the social-ecological adversities found in the Brazilian Semiarid region (BSA). They vary according to the interpretation of what the roots of these adversities and the causes of the resulting vulnerability are. This paper analyses two technological approaches to the BSA, the first provided by the government through public policies and the other driven by civil society. It focuses on the initiatives promoted by each approach during the 20th and 21st centuries, and discusses how they have enhanced or reduced the sustainability of the Brazilian Semiarid region. This assessment is based on document analysis, fieldwork and open/semi-structured interviews. The traditional technological approach did not reduce the social-ecological vulnerability of the BSA system or increase resilience of family farmers and of the deciduous forest, the most vulnerable parties. It has boosted development from a classical development perspective, promoting macro-infrastructure and growth, but also contributed to keep the same pattern of dependence of farmers. Social technologies have been promoting the BSA sustainability and can have a long-lasting impact if extensively applied. While the traditional approach mostly benefits large landowners, social technologies benefit family farmers, the deciduous forest and the entire social-ecological system. View Full-Text
Keywords: technological approach; Brazilian semiarid region; vulnerability; sustainability; resilience technological approach; Brazilian semiarid region; vulnerability; sustainability; resilience

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Machado, L.W.; Rovere, E.L.L. The Traditional Technological Approach and Social Technologies in the Brazilian Semiarid Region. Sustainability 2018, 10, 25.

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