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The use of indigenous knowledge in development: problems and challenges

John Briggs

2005 United Kingdom

The use of indigenous knowledge has been seen by many as an alternative way of promoting development in poor rural communities in many parts of the world. By reviewing much of the recent work on indigenous knowledge, the paper suggests that a number of problems and tensions have resulted in indigenous knowledge not being as useful as hoped for or supposed. These include problems emanating from a focus on the (arte)factual; binary tensions between western science and indigenous knowledge systems; the problem of differentiation and power relations; the romanticisation of indigenous knowledge; and the all too frequent decontextualisation of indigenous knowledge.

Indigenous knowledge; development; indigenous environmental knowledge; power relations