Reply To: April 28th Science, Society, and Power

Author Replies # Posted on April 29, 2014 at 11:13

Reflection on yesterday’s discussion

By Yongliang Gao

How are concepts of indigenous knowledge and traditional environmental knowledge used to incorporate local knowledge into global epidemic/socio-political networks of environmental research and policy? Where do inconsistencies and instabilities arise in this process?

As a group, we first discussed the difference between indigenous knowledge and traditional environmental knowledge. We argued that the indigenous knowledge seems to stem from the local community while the local people pass through the indigenous knowledge to next generations and hence it becomes a part of the traditional knowledge speaking from the long run. At the same time, the traditional knowledge can also reach the local community and influence or even change the local knowledge in some way. In a word, the indigenous knowledge and traditional environmental knowledge are interconnected and interdependent. Personally, I believe the inconsistencies and instabilities arise when a global researcher inquiries the process of passing through the knowledge from one generation to another. When the indigenous or say traditional knowledge is missed out or overstated in that process, the consistency and stability of the knowledge will consequently be interrupted.

Apart from that, while watch the documentary Second Nature on YouTube, which recommended by Nik and Anna, I doubted that to what extent can we really trust the local people? This is really significant to me as they are responsible for recording and transferring their knowledge. It seems to me that very few of them in the documentary were educated and possessed the basic knowledge of their own land. Thus, when the outsider researchers come, how can they integrate their knowledge with the locals is a big concern for me.