Recent surveys show that the communication about climate change between science and the public is severely disturbed. In this article we discuss this problem in focusing on both regional climate services and other, local forms of knowledge. The authors suggest that climate science and its public services have to critically revise their own practices and to acknowledge other forms of knowledge about climate as constitutive. Based on approaches from geography and anthropology, the article first discusses the short history and "normal practices" of regional climate services and how they approach the public. Outlining the potentials and constraints of this concept, the article focuses on the friction, on "its openness to change as it rubs up against society" (Hulme 2007). The focus then shifts to local knowledge systems and how they deal with the challenges of a changing climate. In addition to the "extended peer review" as a new option for climate research in a post-normal setup, the authors discuss the possibility of an "extended knowledge basis," that is, the integration of different forms of climate knowledge with a special focus on regional populations.
Werner Krauss and Hans von Storch
In order for nature/society scholars to understand the dynamics of environmental appropriation, commercialization, and privatization, we must attend to the production of the environmental science that enables them. Case studies from anthropology, geography, history of science, science and technology studies, and sociology demonstrate that the neoliberal forces whose application we study and contest are also changing the production of environmental knowledge claims both inside and outside the university. Neoliberalism's core epistemological claim about the market's superiority as information processor has made restructuring the university a surprisingly central project. Further, because knowledge has become a key site of capital accumulation, the transformative reach of neoliberal science regimes extends outside the university into the various forms of extramural science, such as citizen science, crowdsourcing, indigenous knowledge, and local knowledge. Neoliberal science regimes' impacts on these forms of extramural science are strikingly similar, and quite different from the most common consequences within academia.
Jennifer Dodge, Richard Holtzman, Merlijn van Hulst and Dvora Yanow
The ‘interpretive turn’ has gained traction as a research approach in recent decades in the empirical social sciences. While the contributions of interpretive research and interpretive research methods are clear, we wonder: Does an interpretive perspective lend itself to – or even demand – a particular style of teaching? This question was at the heart of a roundtable discussion we organised at the 2014 Interpretive Policy Analysis (IPA) International Conference. This essay reports on the contours of the discussion, with a focus on our reflections upon what it might mean to teach ‘interpretively’. Prior to outlining these, we introduce the defining characteristics of an interpretive perspective and describe our respective experiences and interests in this conversation. In the hope that this essay might constitute the beginning of a wider conversation, we close it with an invitation for others to respond.
Mobile Cultures between the Andes and the Amazon around 1900
Jaime Moreno Tejada
This article examines two distinct yet overlapping cultures of mobility in turn-of-the-century Ecuador. On the one hand, there was a modernizing culture that sought to implement utopian modes of transportation between the Andes and the Amazon. On the other hand, there were indigenous porters and pilots, who had nonhegemonic ideas about mobility and labor. This article argues that (1) indigenous labor was based on the performance of colonial habits, which I refer to as coloniality; (2) within this framework of spatial practice, native bodily rhythms could be interpreted as successful tactics of everyday resistance; and (3) the conflict between Indians and non-Indians reveals a universal, modern tension between machine and humanlike mobilities.
This is an introduction to indigenous or local knowledge (IK) in development. After discussing problems of definition, various models to represent relations between, and structure enquiries into, different knowledge traditions are outlined, including the continuum and sphere representations. This discussion includes a summary of points that justify why agencies should seek better to incorporate consideration of local knowledge into development programmes; and sketches the several methodological issues that we have to address to take this work forwards. Finally, this introduction concludes with some comments on the work of the Durham Anthropology in Development (AID) group.
The question posed in this article is how shifts in governance ushered in by the sustainability paradigm are reshaping knowledge governance. Drawing on constructivist theories of knowledge, I examine the tension between the sustainability mandate to open up knowledge making to local knowledge, and conventional science policy practice that would see it excluded. I present a water management case study from New Zealand's South Island region of Canterbury, where communities are involved in establishing catchment nutrient limits to manage land use and water quality. It is concluded that although local knowledge was embraced within the knowledge-making process, the pursuit of epistemic authority led to its recalibration, aggregation, and standardization. As such, it was stripped of its complexity. This research highlights the role of politics in anchoring the linear knowledge governance model in place and the challenge for supplanting it.
A Perspective From Bangladesh
Development research in Bangladesh creates friction in projects among various stakeholders—donors, NGOs, managers, researchers or the poor beneficiaries. Research is an element of power relations among the contending actors. The mutually reinforcing relations of power between different actors determine the quality and outcomes of research. All the contending actors' aims may be to serve the poor by promoting development in order to alleviate poverty, but cooperation between them becomes a source of antagonism that can seriously hamper the promotion of local knowledge issues, which become lost in the ensuing differences of opinion and aims.
This article shows how native people in remote Siberian settlements address social distress in their communities by transmitting local knowledge through organizing leisure activities for children and youth. The author examines the rationale, discourses, and practices of indigenous activists to establish vacation camps and unpacks young people's narratives of how they relate to this particular leisure activity. The camps are creative sites of cultural production and social hubs for participants. While young people are open to influences of popular cultures available in urban centers and villages, they contrast the social solidarity of the vacation forest camps with the individualization and social distress in villages and towns.
Local Knowledge and Universal Claims
In Vanuatu, where the revival of kastom (custom) has been pivotal in defining postcolonial identity, articulations of feminism(s) are offen met with ambivalence. The tension between discourses of individual rights and collective obligations and the tension between universal ideas of women's rights and local cultural practices such as kastom must be confronted. An engaged feminist anthropology, I argue, resists singular accounts of modernity by locating local knowledge and kastomary practices within a larger context that unsettles the boundaries of local and universal. Disentangling the ways in which contemporary critiques of kastom resonate with missionary and colonial representations of Melanesian violence and drawing attention to the structural violence of everyday life are also important tasks. Invoking the concepts of 'modest witness' and 'situated knowledge', I discuss what Strathern (1987) has called the 'awkward relationship' between anthropology and feminism and consider the possibilities of an engaged feminist anthropology.
The Making of Prepared Farmers and the Postcolonial Predictive State in Kenya
This article explores weather forecasting as an emergent technology of governmentality through a detailed ethnography of the ways in which the relationships between weather and crops are rendered knowable in a two-day “participatory scenario planning” (PSP) workshop in Naromoru in the Central Highlands of Kenya. Farmers were “made into meteorologists” and developed their preparedness for hazards, impacts, opportunities, strategies, and responsibilities within the context of facing El Niño. The ethnography targets seemingly novel ways of preparing farmers for El Niño. I argue that the PSP served two principal functions: (1) to redistribute responsibilities of the farmers themselves by making them into “meteorologists”; and (2) to integrate “scientific expertise” with “local knowledge” to generate public trust in the metrological institutions of the postcolonial predictive state.