- Edited by Alan Bicker, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, Paul Sillitoe, Durham University, UK and Johan Pottier, University of London, UK
Local knowledge reflects many generations of experience and problem solving by people around the world, increasingly affected by globalizing forces. Such knowledge is far more sophisticated than development professionals previously assumed and, as such, represents an immensely valuable resource. A growing number of governments and international development agencies are recognizing that local-level knowledge and organizations offer the foundation for new participatory models of development that are both cost-effective and sustainable, and ecologically and socially sound.
This book provides a timely overview of new directions and new approaches to investigating the role of rural communities in generating knowledge founded on their sophisticated understandings of their environments, devising mechanisms to conserve and sustain their natural resources, and establishing community-based organizations that serve as forums for identifying problems and dealing with them through local-level experimentation, innovation, and exchange of information with other societies. These studies show that development activities that work with and through local knowledge and organizations have several important advantages over projects that operate outside them. Local knowledge informs grassroots decision-making, much of which takes place through indigenous organizations and associations at the community level as people seek to identify and determine solutions to their problems.
Contents: Local knowledge theory and methods: an urban model from Indonesia, Christoph Antweiler; Doing and knowing: questions about studies of local knowledge, Andrew P. Vayda, Bradley B. Walters and Indah Setyawati; A decision model for the incorporation of indigenous knowledge into development projects, Paul Sillitoe and Julian Barr; Triangulation with técnicos: a method for rapid assessment of local knowledge, Jeffery W. Bentley, Eric Boa, Percy Vilca and John Stonehouse; Local history as 'indigenous knowledge': aeroplanes, conservation and development in Haia and Maimafu, Papua New Guinea, David Ellis and Paige West; The INGO, the project and the investigation of 'indigenous knowledge': the case of non-timber forest product (NTFP), Sebastian Taylor; Indigenous views on the terms of participation in the development of biodiversity conservation in Nepal, Ben Campbell; Negotiating change, maintaining continuity: science education and indigenous knowledge in Eastern Canada, Trudy Sable; The re-emergence of traditional medicine and health care in post-colonial India and national identity, Subhadra Mitra Channa; In dialogue with indigenous knowledge: sharing research to promote empowerment of rural communities in India, R. Baumgartner, G.K. Karanth, G.S. Aurora and V. Ramaswamy; Index.
About the Editor: Alan Bicker has qualifications in both agricultural and anthropology with research interests in the dynamics of migrant integration and the cognitive systems involved. His current work focuses on Eastern European migration and its participation in Western European farming, and researching its significance for our understanding of agricultural knowledge.
Paul Sillitoe has qualifications in both agricultural science and anthropology with research interests in tropical farming systems and indigenous natural resource management strategies. He specialises in development and social change, livelihood and technology, human ecology and ethnoscience. He has worked in Papua New Guinea, where he first championed the competitive sociability of institutionalised corporate exchange individualism, and Bangladesh, researching local agricultural knowledge and development programmes.
Johan Pottier is a senior anthropologist who has researched extensively in Central Africa. He has published on local-level perceptions of food security; anthropology and food policy; post-drought and post-famine recovery; refugee perceptions of humanitarian aid; war, displacement and ethnicity; and the impact of migration on rural livelihoods. He is currently Head of the Anthropology Department at SOAS, University of London.
Reviews: 'This volume represents some of the earliest and best results of a second generation of work on indigenous knowledge, written by some of the most important scholars in the field…Anyone interested in the subject of indigenous or local knowledge, and the current state of this important and heavily-debated field of study, will want this book on their bookshelf.'
Professor Michael R. Dove, Yale University, USA