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Landscape, Process and Power

Landscape, Process and Power: Re-evaluating Traditional Environmental Knowledge

Edited by Serena Heckler
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Landscape, Process and Power
    Book Description:

    In recent years, the field of study variously called local, indigenous or traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) has experienced a crisis brought about by the questioning of some of its basic assumptions. This has included reassessing notions that scientific methods can accurately elicit and describe TEK or that incorporating it into development projects will improve the physical, social or economic well-being of marginalized peoples. The contributors to this volume argue that to accurately and appropriately describe TEK, the historical and political forces that have shaped it, as well as people's day-to-day engagement with the landscape around them must be taken into account. TEK thus emerges, not as an easily translatable tool for development experts, but as a rich and complex element of contemporary lives that should be defined and managed by indigenous and local peoples themselves.

    eISBN: 978-1-84545-904-8
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of Contributors
    (pp. ix-xi)
  5. Foreword
    (pp. xii-xvi)
    Roy Ellen

    As Serena Heckler explains in her introduction, the present volume arose from a panel organized for the Ninth International Congress of Ethnobiology in 2004.It is one of several volumes originating from that Congress and published (or to be published) inStudies in Environmental Anthropology and Ethnobiology.The Congress sought to address, in particular, the reality of traditional environmental knowledge in situations of social and ecological change. Such knowledge was not to be understood as merely an inventory of arcane trivia, destined – under conditions of modernity – for oblivion; but was asserted to be necessarily part of a dynamic cultural process, entailing...

  6. Chapter 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-18)
    Serena Heckler

    The majority of chapters in this book were first presented during a panel entitled ‘Traditional Environmental Knowledge (TEK) and Change’ at the Ninth International Congress of Ethnobiology in June 2004 at the University of Kent in Canterbury, England. The title was intended to refer to the use of TEK methods to assess changes in the way that local peoples interact with the natural resources around them: some speakers in the panel reported on changing socioeconomic systems, while others spoke about changing environments. It soon became apparent, however, that another kind of change was being exemplified, that of a changing field...

  7. Chapter 2 A Genealogy of Scientific Representations of Indigenous Knowledge
    (pp. 19-67)
    Stanford Zent

    The anthropological fascination and appreciation for indigenous knowledge has successfully penetrated the popular imagination in recent years. It is now common to find sympathetic references to traditional ecological and cultural wisdom in miscellaneous media, from movies to children’s storybooks, from alternative medicine propaganda to New Age religious teachings. Similar to other public trends, the remaking of IK has followed the lead set by advances in scientific research. IK has become incorporated into the research programmes of academic disciplines spanning the social and life sciences, leading some authors to suggest that IK studies deserve to be recognised as a burgeoning interdisciplinary...

  8. Chapter 3 The Cultural and Economic Globalisation of Traditional Environmental Knowledge Systems
    (pp. 68-98)
    Miguel N. Alexiades

    In 1999, participants of the World Conference on Science for the Twenty-First Century called for a new ‘social contract’ between science and society on the grounds that science had entered a new phase in which the nature of the problems it faces, and therefore its function, have changed (World Conference on Science 1999). In this chapter I explore some of the broad implications of this ‘new phase’ which includes massive technological change, widespread economic and political re-structuring and the dramatic increase in the transnational flows of ideas, goods, people, capital and services – for both indigenous knowledge and its relationship to...

  9. Chapter 4 Competing and Coexisting with Cormorants: Ambiguity and Change in European Wetlands
    (pp. 99-121)
    David N. Carss, Sandra Bell and Mariella Marzano

    This chapter explores issues surrounding environmental change or, more precisely, local peoples’ experiences and perceptions of environmental change, in relation to a particularly virulent conflict that exists across European wetlands between commercial and recreational fishermen¹, the fish-eating bird, the Great Cormorant, and those responsible for wildlife conservation and management. This conflict is embedded in two important global environmental challenges: the conservation of biodiversity and the sustainable management of natural resources. However, as with most human-wildlife conflicts, cormorant-fisheries conflicts are acted out at the local level (Anderson and Berglund 2004; Croll and Parkin 1992).

    Wetland environments are historically recognised as “shifting...

  10. Chapter 5 Pathways To Developmen: Identity, Landscape and Industry in Papua New Guinea
    (pp. 122-139)
    Emma Gilberthorpe

    When isolated indigenous populations are faced with global intrusions they are forced in one way or another to act on deep-seated indigenous knowledge to make sense of things. In Papua New Guinea extractive industry is one such intrusion that forces populations to consciously acknowledge their historical connection to the place they live in order to be recognised as landowners and receive compensation, equity and, in some cases, royalties. As hosts to the Kutubu branch of the Kutubu-Gobe-Moran oil fields in Papua New Guinea the Fasu people are required to present themselves as landowning clans in order to collectively receive two...

  11. Chapter 6 How Do They See It? Traditional Resource Management, Distrubance and Biodiversity Conservation In Papua New Guinea
    (pp. 140-155)
    William H. Thomas

    Traditional societies are often portrayed as stewards of their environment who are living in ‘balance’ with their natural surroundings. Since much of the planet’s remaining wilderness is also the home of an indigenous society (Robles Gil 2002), some nations are hoping to capitalise on traditional management techniques to conserve biodiversity and provide sustainable development options for traditional landowners. The apparent compatibility of traditional land management practices with biological diversity has spawned interest in understanding these management systems (Barrett et al. 2001) , collecting traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) (Ludwig, Mangel and Haddad 2001) and potentially using traditional land management practices as...

  12. Chapter 7 Wild Plants as Agricultural Indicators: Linking Ethnobotany with Traditional Ecological Knowledge
    (pp. 156-182)
    Takeshi Fujimoto

    Ethnobotanical studies have generally investigated traditional uses of plants by local people, including food, medicinal, and construction uses as well as plant classification (Cotton 1996; Martin 2004). However, such studies may not reflect the entire range of plant uses. Local people have diverse relationships with plants, beyond those of utility and classification. Researchers are increasingly interested in traditional ecological (or environmental) knowledge (TEK), including a more embedded and processual approach to plant knowledge (Zent, Chapter Two). Most recent ethnobotanical studies refer in some way to TEK. However, what is elucidated and described as TEK is defined, not only by what...

  13. Chapter 8 How Does Migration Affect Ethnobotanical Knowledge and Social Organisation in a West Papuan Village?
    (pp. 183-204)
    Manuel Boissière

    Cultural hybridization has mainly been considered in the context of overlap between very different groups, such as ‘western’ societies and indigenous cultures (Gow 2001, Gupta 1998, Gupta and Ferguson 1992), for instance numerous comparisons between scientists and local farmers (Agrawal 1995, Sillitoe 1998a, b), or between indigenous and ‘non-indigenous’ knowledge (Dove 2000:235), but very little work has been done on different ethnic groups that share the same cultural background and that have only minor power differentials. For instance, Thomas focuses on the relationship between colonial and colonised groups, and brings in the problem of hybridity as an individual or a...

  14. Chapter 9 Reproduction and Development of Expertise Within Communities of Practice: A Case Study of Fishing Activities in South Buton (Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia)
    (pp. 205-229)
    Daniel Vermonden

    At the root of this chapter lies an apparent paradox noticed during my research with fishermen in South Buton (Sulawesi, Indonesia). The Convention on Biological Diversity states that: ‘traditional (ecological) knowledge (TEK) is transmitted orally from generation to generation’ (article 8 (j)). Yet, even though, by using structured interviews, I was able to elicit and record fishermen’s extensive knowledge of fishes and, more generally, of the marine environment, during two years of participant observation, I rarely observed oral transmission of fishing knowledge or techniques. This contradiction gives rise to several questions about the nature of TEK in this context, including...

  15. Chapter 10 Review of an Attempt to Apply the Carrying Capacity Concept in the New Guinea Highlands: Cultural Practice Disconcerts Ecological Expectation
    (pp. 230-254)
    Paul Sillitoe

    The relation of population to land is fundamental and long standing. Ever since Malthus formally stated the issue in the early nineteenth century, pointing to the spectre of human numbers exceeding the resources needed to support them, it has been subject to debate, albeit with varying urgency. The two assumptions that underpin the argument seem indisputable, namely that planet Earth has finite land resources and human populations have a propensity to grow. Consequently, the idea of carrying capacity is perennial, and we see repeated attempts to calculate and refine it for different regions, even the entire globe (Cohen 1995). It...

  16. Chapter 11 Managing the Gabra Oromo Commons of Kenya, Past and Present
    (pp. 255-280)
    Aneesa Kassam and Francis Chachu Ganya

    In this chapter, based on an ethnographic case study, we dispute the ‘mainstream view held by many colonial and postcolonial administrators in East Africa, that claims that nomadic pastoralists mismanage their environment (Sandford 1983: 11-19). This belief was given scholarly credence by the ‘tragedy of the commons’ thesis propounded by the biologist Garrett Hardin (1968), based on the notions of ‘carrying capacity’ (for a discussion of this concept see essays in Behnke et al.1993, and Sillitoe, Chapter Ten) and of population growth. The thesis was also used to support the argument of rangeland ecologists, such as Lamprey (1983), that pastoralists...

  17. Index
    (pp. 281-290)