Printer Friendly

Indigenous knowledge, cultural empowerment and alternatives.


Reflecting on the failure of exogenous, top-down and blue-print `development' models, participatory development has been ever more discussed since the middle of the 1970s, although it is still enveloped in a cloud of rhetoric. Seeking for the new model of people-centered development, the concepts of empowerment and indigenous knowledge have been introduced into the context of the development world and are becoming widespread. The new methodologis of participatory development, as for example Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), have been rapidly developed in the 1990s. The development paradigm based on the Western epistemology and value system is, however, still embedded in the development world and follows the prescriptions laid down for them [`underdeveloped' countries] by those already `developed' (Escobar 1992a: 411). Therefore, the discourse of development has been constructed based on this paradigm swallowing new alternative concepts and methodologies as rhetorical antidotes.

On the other hand, the oppressed and disempowered People have struggled against the regime and discourse of development as seen in many `underdeveloped' countries (Kaarsholm 1991), although it is very hard to construct a counter- narrative and action. Western science, combined with the regime and discourse of development, has contributed to suppress other forms of knowledge (Escobar 1992a: 420) including people's knowledge in the `Third World'.

Seeking for liberation and an alternative .path of development for the people by the people and of the People, cultural power has been focused as a foundation of social, political and psychological power of the people. According to Escobar, there is `the interest in local knowledge and culture as the basis for redefining representation; a critical stance,with respect to established scientific knowledge; and the defense and promotion of localized pluralistic grassroots movements' (ibid.: 411). The Participatory Action Research methodology (PAR) grew in the `Third World' and `combines techniques of adult education, social science research, and political activism such as collective research (between external agents or intellectuals and popular groups), the critical reconstruction of local and regional histories, the restoration and use of popular cultures (including people's feelings, imaginations, and artistic capabilities), and novel means of diffusing knowledge (ibid.: 424).

The core concept of PAR is `conscientization', which has been popularized by. Paulo Freire, `a process of self-awareness-raising through collective self-inquiry and reflection' (Rahman 1991: 17). Reflecting on deeply rooted discourses of development in collective identities and social relationships, grassroots movements, which highlight the role of local knowledge and popular power, are struggling not for development alternatives but rather for alternatives to `development' (Escobar 1992a: 417). Cultural power, however, has been highly politicized and sometimes abused for fanatical exclusionism resulting in almost endless ethnic conflicts, although sell-reflective and pluralistic approaches have been stressed for that alternative path.

From these two different and often counter perspectives, i.e. development and the people's movement, indigenous knowledge and culture (the terms are defined in chapter 2) have been focused and narrated (1). As we have briefly seen, indigenous knowledge and culture have many potentials for positive and negative power. Therefore, we should critically examine how to elicit and use this power properly for development and alternatives to development.

Under the process of modernization, indigenous knowledge and culture are at risk of imposed change and extinction. The loss of cultural diversity is on-going combined with the loss of biodiversity.

Cultural conservation is a part of the cultural dynamics of identity formation that includes the interaction of tradition and modernity, and domination and resistance (Escobar 1992b). Culture, indigenous knowledge and tradition are always constructed and reconstructed dynamically in the context of macro and micro politics. Cultural conservation is, therefore, not sell-evident. Rather it is controversial and, in fact, is a part of the process of construction/ reconstruction. Cultural conservation might be problematic because it could enhance political activities. Without the effort of conservation, however, we may lose the latent power of indigenous knowledge and culture. Therefore, we should critically examine how to conserve and utilize indigenous knowledge and culture.

As a staff member of an NGO, the Institute for Himalayan Conservation (IHC), I organized a programme for interactive tourism, education based on indigenous knowledge and documentation of oral traditions thought to be vanishing in the hill and mountainous areas of Nepal.

In Nepal the issues of ethnopolitics and ethnodevelopment have become very `hot' since the democratization revolution in 1990 (Bhatachan 1995, O'Neill 1994). The minority groups are struggling to acquire social, political and cultural rights and to construct their identities.

As an example, I examine the programme of the IHC in this social context to discuss the above-mentioned issues and clarify the dangers and potentials of indigenous knowledge and the role of outsiders.

In this paper, first I will examine definitions of indigenous knowledge and cultural empowerment. Then, I will explore two dimensions of the usage of indigenous knowledge; modification of development projects and indigenous knowledge-based autonomous development. Third, I will critically review the process of the programme mentioned. Finally I will explore the role of outsiders (2) to facilitate cultural empowerment.

What is Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Empowerment?

Indigenous Knowledge (IK): The use of the term indigenous in the context of development began with Rollers Chamber's group at the IDS in 1979 featuring `indigenous technical knowledge' (Warren, Michael 1998: 244. Comments on Sillitoe). Defining the IK and people is, however, deceptively difficult because centuries of forced and unforced migration, miscegenation, and cultural assimilation have made identification of the indigenous, `a contested terrain' (Purcell 1998: 259). Western notions have been imposed and incorporated into IK and people. Even though development is "a whiteman's dream" (Verhelst 1990: 20), the dream has been deeply internalized into the people of the `Third World'. According to Pigg `the social categories of development are not simply imposed from the outside on rural people but assimilated into the ways they see themselves and their relations to other Nepalis (1992: 507).

Therefore, attempts to define IK must consider its political status, i.e. the dominant discourse about "truth" (Purcell 1998: 260), although the term indigenous carries a less hegemonic connotation. Its current usage by indigenous peoples has largely been self-applied (ibid.: 259). The term knowledge here is meant to have a more delimited meaning than the term culture (Ibid. 260) ..., having socioeconomic implications for the relative autonomy of indigenous ... peoples marginalized by centuries of European expansion (Ibid. 265). It is also difficult, however, to distinguish `IK' from culture'.

There are various concepts and terms related to IK; local knowledge, folk knowledge, rural people's knowledge, traditional environmental knowledge (TEK), indigenous technical knowledge, indigenous agricultural knowledge, popular knowledge, non-Western knowledge, emic knowledge and ethonociesnce.

Here, I follow the definitions below, although these still remain ambiguous. IK is `the body of historically constituted (emic) knowledge instrumental in the long-term adaptation of human groups to the biophysical environment' (Purcell 260). It is the knowledge `which is rooted and embedded in (indigenous to) the rurally-located and socio-economically underprivileged groups within Third World societies' (Bell 1979: 45). It may be the only resource that the poorest groups control (McCall, cited in Goodman 1989: 53) and is unevenly distributed even in communities (IIRR 1996). It is mainly qualitative, empirical, holistic, moral, spiritual and diachronic (Berkes 1993:2).

Then, we shall examine the definition of the concept of cultural empowerment which is linked closely with IK.

Cultural Empowerment' Ames defines cultural empowerment as transferring skills to the less powerful and providing opportunities for them to present their own points of view within the institutional context (1990: 161-162). This definition, however, lacks a dynamic internal process of self-critical `conscientization' in Freire's sense. For Freire cultural empowerment has a dual focus on politics and pedagogy to legitimize lived experiences of subordinate groups in order to give `a sense of affirmation and to provide the conditions for [ ... them] to display an active voice and presence' (Freire summarized by Giroux 1985: xxi). Such experiences are `contradictory in nature and harbour not only radical potentials but also the sedimentations of domination' (ibid.: xxii). The experiences `have to be recovered critically in order to reveal both their strengths and weaknesses' (ibid.: xxii). The process consists of `conscientization', collective action and critical reflection struggling for meaning and struggling over power relations (ibid: xiii).

According to Kleymeyer, cultural empowerment and expression can spark community-based conservation in at least six ways; consciousness raising, teaching and training especially for young people, strengthening local organizations and the sense of community, promoting programs and generating group energy, getting the work done, and democratic discussion and social mediation (1996: 31-34). `Teamwork, sacrifice, communication, solidarity, and persistence are integral to successful development efforts and can be enhanced through culture-based approaches (ibid.: 33). Traditional culture has incorporated such social and psychological power into its system which arives individuals to go beyond their personal egoism and enhance collaborative social actions. Therefore, many grassroots groups and NGOs are applying this `group energy' driven by `cultural energy' to environmentally sustainable development (ibid.: 33). By reminding people where they come from and who they are, moreover, `cultural traditions help shape a vision of where they should be going'(ibid.: 32). In fact, for indigenous people, reclaiming and asserting their histories is `a first step toward securing the future for themselves'(Levine 1996: 10). However, it is dangerous to follow the romantic, idealized view of the "innocent primitive" which robs indigenous people of their humanity and could disempower them (Kleymeyer 1996: 34). This romantic and idealized view could also result in exclusion of others and their otherness.

In sum, cultural empowerment could be defined as to enable less powerful people to retain and utilize their culture in order to reinforce self-affirmation and group synergy through critical reflections on their culture and lite experience. It reinforces social, political, psychological power for the people to construct a better future, but the process should be highly self-critical on the meaning and power relations of `indigenous culture'.

Two Approaches to Indigenous Knowledge

The term IK is used mainly in two different approaches, in the context of development and the people's movement. It becomes, however, difficult to separate them because in some aspects they are getting closer to each other.

Modification of Development Projects

Usefulness of IK: According to Chambers, `development ... entails disseminating modern and scientific knowledge to inform and uplift the rural masses. Knowledge flows in one direction only --downwards-- from those who are strong, educated and enlightened towards those who are weak, ignorant and in darkness'(1979: 1). To balance some inadequacies of Western Knowledge in development contexts, IK is recognized for more culturally appropriate and sustainable development (Purcell 1998: 258). IK is now a fashion in development discourses as `a "valuable and under-utilized resource" and needs to be intensively and extensively studied, and "incorporated" into formal research and extension practice' (Scoones and Thompson 1994: 17). IK is important because of its `stability (the reliability of the yield), sustainability (the prospect for maintaining it in the long term), resilience (the ability to function under unexpected and possibly disastrous changes in social or environmental conditions), and efficiency (with respect to capital and labour inputs)' (Marten cited in Goodman 1989: 40). IK is originally called Indigenous Technical Knowledge (ITK) by Chamber's group which concentrated attention on its role in agricultural production. Recognizing the usefulness of IK in a broader sense as cultural knowledge, such as producing and reproducing mutual understanding and identity among the members of a farming community, the group now prefer to call IK `Rural People's Knowledge' (RPK) rather than ITK (Scoones and Thompson 1994: 18). IK is now recognized as an important factor for development which can contribute in four dimensions; sustainability, cultural appropriateness, collective identity and meeting local demand. 1K can be widely utilized in various development programmes like agricultural development, alternative technology, biodiversity, cultural diversity, income generation and primary health care.

This recognition is relevant to the following questions: how to select the useful parts of IK and incorporate them in the development process? This approach is relevant to the issue of `valuable IK' and `optimal synthesis'(Chambers 1979: 2). This approach could be utilitarian, which might extract useful parts of IK from its indigenous context for use in exogenous development and neglect the comprehensiveness of IK. IK could be extracted and be utilized to make a development package and execute topdown projects by outside `development experts'. Thus we should examine whether IK is really for the indigenous people or not.

People's Participation and IK: IK can be utilized with people's participation, starting with "what the people know" and building on "what the people have" (IIRR 1996). In that case insiders and outsiders jointly diagnose the situation before starting projects. This is a people-oriented approach which can be understood in contrast with the extractive approach.

In IIRR (1996), the approach is clearly explained. First it emphasizes its populism asserting that `only if the active application of IK is part of a people-centered, truly participatory development effort, will we able to realize the potential of IK in development'. And seeking for the `optimal synthesis' for a more effective solution, IIRR tries to describe how to - blend IK and Western Knowledges asserting that `what is important is that instead of looking only for technologies and solutions from outside the community, we first look at what is in the community'.

According to IIRR, the project cycle is described as 4-stages; problem identification, project design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation. In the stage of problem identification, not IK but participatory methodology such as PRA is utilized. After identifying the `problem', the understanding of IK and its active application in projects are focused. The detail at this stage is to determine whether relevant IK exists, to evaluate the effectiveness and sustainability of IK, to test whether IK can be improved and apply and promote improved IK.

In this way IIRR tries to utilize IK both for development projects and for the indigenous people. This approach, however, puts emphasis not on the whole IK but on the practical aspect of IK (4). Projects can be modified but the IK System itself could be modified through the process of incorporation. `Local knowledge production and use is determined by planning systems' (Mosse 1995: 1). In sum the degree of participation relates to the degree of recognition of the contextuality and comprehensiveness of IK (5).

Indigenous Knowledge-Based Autonomous Development

In contrast with utilizing IK in development activities, there is a movement of indigenous people which has deep roots in a general dissatisfaction with the process of Westernization (Purcell 1998: 258). It is a challenge to Western cultural hegemony (ibid ... 260). `Indigenous peoples ... are asserting their voices in new ways, reclaiming their histories as a first step toward securing the future for themselves and the generations who follow' (Levine 1996: 10). They started to revitalize cultures to `blaze their own development paths' (ibid.: 10). In this way, culture begins to be recognized as one of the most important factors to construct alternatives to `development'

It is, however, very difficult to construct counter-narratives against Westernization and `development', and construct an alternative vision of development based on IK. Indigenous people and knowledge have been threatened by centuries of European expansion and recent aggressive globalization. There is the danger of a loss of IK, especially of undocumented IK.

Moreover, there are `ever-greater divisions between generations' (Norberg-Hodge 1991: 166) among the local community as a result of the rapid process of modernization and globalization. Most children attend rural schools, where IK rarely forms an integral part of the curriculum. `Modern education not only ignores local resources, but ... makes ... children think of themselves and their culture as inferior. They are robbed of their self-esteem' (ibid.: 95). Local people, especially young people, tend to romanticize the West as an easier and happier life (ibid.: 95). Consumerism does damage not only to the local autonomous economic system but also to the family and community ties, which in turn further shakes individual self-esteem (ibid.: 125). As a result, the younger generation tends to be sceptical about their IK.

Thus there is a vicious circle; loss of IK (6) and loss of the systems for the transmission of IK with introduction of Western Knowledge causes loss of identity, loss of confidence and sense of inferiority. And even small, idealistic NGOs tend to `ignore the root problems, often pulling more and more people into dependence on the macroeconomy rather than supporting local diversification and real self-reliance'. A fundamental change is necessary in the direction of development (ibid.: 151).

According to Pigg (1992) the ideology of development has been deeply internalized even in the remote areas of Nepal. Development in Nepalese connotes new, exogenous improvement. It is a chronicle concept which connotes the future and also a spatial concept which connotes the West and the city. Thus this concept of development is a measure to locate themselves in the world order. Villagers associate that underdevelopment/remote village/ Nepal/the present in contrast with development/the city/the West/the future. The past tends to be denied and neglected. This world order in the epistemology of villagers is, however, a very unilinear view. To construct the narrative and vision for alternatives to `development' as their future, villagers have to reconstruct their past as their base (Levine 1996, also see Bennett 1995: 89) and to have a relativistic recognition of the West and the city (Escobar 1992a) (see Figure). This might be a perspective and vision of cultural empowerment.


The Publication Programme of Oral History in Nepal: An Example

The Institute for Himalayan Conservation (IHC) has launched a publication programme of oral history in Nepal. The programme consists of three sub-programmes. The first is the publication of folktale books of an ethnic group (IHCN 1998). The second is the publication and utilization of environmental education sub-textbooks (IHCN 1996). The third is the publication of an ethnographical guide book written by local intellectuals in Mustang (IHCN 1998).

These three sub-programmes are by-products of another key programme called Mountain Ecology School (MES) (see IHC 1998).

Here we examine these three plus one sub-programmes briefly as a case to explore the process of cultural empowerment and the role of insiders and outsiders.

The MES programme started in 1992. MES is a mutual learning program for both villagers and outsiders. It is a three week programme for outsiders to stay in mountain villages in Nepal and to learn from the villagers the wisdom of living together with people and nature such as how to make handicrafts, how to plough agricultural fields, how to utilize and conserve forests. Villagers not only tell them these wisdom, but learn from the outsiders. Villagers form an MES management committee and the committee makes the first draft plan for the contents of MES.

Before MES, both sides have workshops to make charts to clarify what they want to learn. During MES, the KJ method (7) and the relevant field work methods are used by both sides. They write down what they have learnt and discovered and make discovery cards (DCs). We usually get 150 to 450 cards, and these DCs are integrated and has become a Discovery Bank which is shared by both sides. At the end of MES in the village, both sides make charts again showing what they have learnt (Kamata 1999).

During the third MES in 1994-95, by the request of outside participants, the Villagers narrated their oral histories while outsiders recorded them using tape recorders and DCs. Through this process one villager was inspired and said that he could collect a greater amount of oral histories from the villagers. The IHC encouraged him to do so, and with his initiative, the ethnic group, Pun Magar, themselves collected oral histories and wrote them down. Then the IHC published them as `Pun Magar Folktales' first in Nepali for the villagers and their ethnic group, then in Japanese and in English. The English version consists of thirty-three stories with the names of the resource person and recorder and the photographs of each native resource persons for the publication.

As effects of this programme, we could preserve folk tales and provide a tool for the transmission of IK from generation to generation, and enhance the confidence of the local people about the values of their IK. Usually `books' were perceived by villagers as legitimized knowledge from outside, but now they have their own books of their knowledge. Written form enables people to create `authorized' Versions of their history. (Eriksen 1993: 91). Moreover, we could have a tool to share the IK with outsiders, Japanese and Anglophones.

There are also limitations and issues to this sub-programme. The first is the fact that oral histories can not be preserved fully by text. Although IHC has trained local people to take video films on oral traditions, this still has limitations. The second is the issue of representation. Usually there are many versions of folk tales for villages of same ethnic group. This sub-programme caused a controversy on the origin of the ethnic group among the villages. After discussing with the ethnic group, we together decided to include several versions of the origins of the ethnic group, but still the issue of representation remains. The third is that it could freeze and authorize the stories resulting in the loss of the dynamics of oral history although publication reinforces the value of folktales. The forth is the fact that we could only provide some tools for the transmission of IK and could not reconstruct the systems for the transmission.

In addition to these sub-programmes, IHC carried out publication and utilization of environmental education sub-textbooks entitled `The Environment of Our Village' which tried to integrate the Western Knowledge with IK. They include Western Knowledge such as geological review, eco-system, sanitation and health, and as IK they include indigenous life style in cow shed, ethnobotany, indigengus forest management, initiation ceremonies and festivals. School teachers wrote the contents themselves. As Hugh-Jones writes, ethnoeducation is a process which will allow people to both value and strengthen their culture and also acquire outside forms of knowledge which will allow them to develop in today's world (Hugh-Jones 1998:16). In this sense, this sub-programme can be regarded as ethnoeducation. The explanation of the roles of local- healer (shamans) is a counter-argument against school textbooks published by government. However these sub-textbooks have become complements to the school education, which is a part of the apparatus to introduce Western Knowledge into the local community. Although the programme has a great deal of potential to counterbalance the inflow of Western Knowledge into indigenous villages through education, it remains a small attempt at a micro-level.

The IHC also encouraged community intellectuals in the another area called Mustang to make a cultural resource book for themselves in Nepalese and a guidebook for tourists in English. The area is famous for its Tibetan cultural heritage, religious sacred places and natural exoticism. Many visitors from India and Western countries come and many guide books have been written by outsiders. In this area there are mainly two ethnic groups and two different religions. The IHC formed a committee, which consists of community intellectuals, for planning and writing the contents. It was difficult, however, to make a consensus even among the committee because there is contested and conflicting interpretations of local history. Therefore this publication has not solved the issue of representation, although it attempted self-representation by local people.

The programme mentioned above has contributed to rediscover the value of IK and to retain it to some extent. It will be a part of the process of cultural empowerment, although local people have not been culturally empowered fully.

Let us examine the role of outsiders through the process of this programme focused on the folk-tale publication.

(1) to provide an opportunity for local people to realize the value of folk tales,

(2) to encourage the local people to collect folk tales by themselves,

(3) to give some suggestions on how to collect folk tales and to provide a tape recorder and tapes,

(4) to monitor the process,

(5) to find illustrators,

(6) to support the editorial work, especially desk top publishing,

(7) to provide the cost of printing (It was about 600 pounds for 500 copies in Nepal).

In sum it is a catalytic role to enable villagers to discover what they should do and what they can do. It also provides necessary resources such as recording materials, human resources for special skills and minimum financial support. We will examine this catalytic role further.

Catalytic Role of Outsiders: The catalytic role of outsiders is important to realize cultural empowerment, although it may not indispensable for it. Catalyst means that the person that connect different things or persons, cause a change, and amplify its process. Knowledge and person are the most important factors for catalyses. Here I explore two roles of catalyst as semantic catalyst and networking catalyst which respectively focuses on knowledge and person.

Semantic Catalyst: Outsiders can play the role of semantic catalyst who facilitate for the insiders the process of discovery and creation of new meaning in the following ways.

a. To Make the Tacit and Implicit IK Explicit: Through influx of and/or interaction with outsiders, indigenous people realize the meaning of `culture' and their own identity and start to manifest them consciously (Hugh-Jones 1998: 3). As seen in the MES programme, outsiders transcribe tacit and implicit IK although it is not necessarily correct and holistic. Rather the data are biased by the interest and prejudice of outsiders. They were not trained anthropologists but ordinary people from different background in Japan. However, even non-trained outsiders can contribute to transform tacit and implicit IK into explicit. Objectified forms of knowledge enhance critical examination by insiders and sharing with outsiders. These process and results could enhance both the self-esteem and self-reflection of insiders, although they also could result in the opposite way.

b. To Provide Information of the Outer-world: It is necessary to provide varied information about the negative and daily aspects of the `First World' to counter-balance the over idealized image and to enable people to make fully informed choices about their own futures (Norberg-Hodge 1991: 160). This role also can be played by various ordinary people from the `First World' to provide informal and discursive information which construct the reality of daily life.

c. To Deconstruct the `Truth': Knowledge could be regarded as the "truth" (Purcell 1998: 267), especially when it is politicized. And `outsiders, particularly non anthropologists, may share a belief ... and reinforce local ideology' (Hofling 1996: 114). To avoid this tendency, trained anthropologists who have a relativistic and hermeneutical perspective can play a role to deconstruct the `truth' and fixed beliefs.

Networking Catalyst: Outsiders can play the role of networking catalysts who facilitate the interaction of people and groups with others in the following ways.

a. Democratic Discussion and Social Mediation: There are various indigenous social relationships which are not necessarily democratic. Outsiders may be able to empower the weakest in the community and encourage the dialogue between the local power elite and the weakest.

b. Networking Local People and Groups with Similar People and Groups: Outsiders can coordinate network organizations for collective action. To meet new social changes, such outsiders are necessary to build a linkage between people and groups.

c. Networking Local People and Groups with Different People and Groups: It is not only the people of the `Third world' but also the people of the `First World' who have an inadequate image of the other worlds. In fact the people who should change the direction of development are not only the people of the `Third World' but also the people of the `First World'. For that aim, mutual deep interaction is crucial.


In this paper I have examined the concept of Indigenous Knowledge and cultural empowerment. Then I have examined two approaches to IK; the modification of development projects and the IK-Based Autonomous Development. Then I have examined a Publication Programme of Oral History in Nepal as an example. Finally I have explored the catalytic role of outsiders for semantic discovery and generation, and networking. This role corresponds to Freire's view of education as `both a struggle for meaning and a struggle over power relations' (Giroux 1985: xiii).

Those who can play a mediative and catalytic role between outsiders and insiders are outsiders with an insider's perspective and insiders with an outsider's perspective. However outsiders should avoid the attitude of patronage and voyeurism. An anthropologist from `First World' can play this role as an outsider with an insider perspectives. Community intellectual can play this role as an insider with an outsider perspective.

Another remaining but crucial issue is macro-politics. After democratization movement in 1990, an ethnic federation consisting of 19 ethnic associations has established in Nepal. The main objectives of the federation are to gain religious rights, cultural rights in education, jobs and political representation. As part of this indigenous movement, the origin myth of Tharu, an ethnic group of southern part of Nepal, has constructed another myth in the process of de-Hinduizing the kingdom (Skar 1995). These ethnic associations have a potential to the communities for cultural empowerment, however, they are largely political in nature and therefore can be problematic (see Kothari 1995: 12).

IK and culture have gained new importance in the external negotiation of rights and benefits linked with identity and alterity (Hugh-Jones 1998: 30). It was also a new phase in a much older process (ibid.: 27). IK and culture are linked closely with identity, community, education, development and future. Mobilizing IK and culture, the movement of alternatives to development will be promoted which are centered on people and are based on local environment and culture.


(1.) Sillitoe argues that there are two strands to the evolution of the indigenous, knowledge perspective, one academic and the other development-focused (1998: 224). However in the `Third World', the impact of the academic strands seems indirect and relatively weak.

(2.) As Reed-Danahay writes, the dichotomy of insider/ outsider is too simplistic for adequate understanding of the issue of representation and power (1997). We will examine this issue later.

(3.) However the dichotomy of IK and Western Knowledge is problematic (see Agrawal 1995).

(4.) In people's movement also, some aspects of culture are emphasized. It could `denote a limited selection of more salient and exotic `items' such as feather head-dressed, traditional dances, and myths'(Hugh-Jones 1998: 8).

(5.) Degree of participatory utilization of IK may be classified as follows;

(1) Exploitation by Outsiders.

(2) Extruction and Imposition by Outsiders.

(3) Incorporation into Development Scheme at the Field Level.

(4) Incorporation into Development Scheme at the Project and Organizational Level.

(5) IK-based Autonomous Development.

(6.) To say `loss of IK is also problematic, because IK is always constructed and reconstructed.

(7.) The KJ method is a participatory research method and also a consistent problem-solving method initiated by the Japanese anthropologist, Jiro Kawakita (see Kawakita 1986, 1991; Kamata 1995,1996,1997; Scupin 1997).

(8.) We should not romanticize the roles of anthropologists and anthropology. Because most of the anthropologists are a part of academic hierarchy and their main concern are usually not to devote themselves to local people but to satisfy their academic concern.


Agrawal, Arun. 1995. "Dismantling the Divide Between Indigenous and Scientific Knowledge". Development and Change, 26:413-439.

Ames, Michael M. 1990. "Cultural Empowerment and Museums: Opening up Anthropology through Collaboration". In Susan Pearce (ed.), Objects of Knowledge. London: The Athlone Press, pp. 158-173.

Bell, Martin. 1979. "The Exploitation of Indigenous Knowledge or the Indigenous Exploitation of Knowledge: Whose Use of What for What?" Rural Development: Whose Knowledge Counts? IDS Bulletin. 10(2). Brighton: IDS, pp. 44-50.

Bennett, Olivia. 1995. "Review Article: Oral Testimony as a Tool for Overseas Development". Oral History. Spring: 89-92.

Berkes, Fikret. 1993. "Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Perspective." Julian T. Inglis (ed.), Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Concepts and Cases. Ottawa: International Program on Traditional Ecological Knowledge & International Development Research Centre, pp. 1-9.

Bhattachan, Krishna B. 1995. "Ethnopolitics and Ethnodevelopment: An Emerging Paradigm in Nepal". Dhruba Kumar (ed.), State, Leadership and Politics in Nepal, Kathmandu: Center for Nepal and Asian Studies, Tribhuvan University, pp. 124-147.

Chambers, Robert. 1979. "Editorial" Rural Development: Whose Knowledge Counts? IDS Bulletin. 10(2). Brighton: IDS, pp. 1-4.

Eriksen, Thomas Hylland. 1993. Ethnicity & Nationalism: Anthropological Perspectives. London: Pluto Press.

Escobar, Arturo. 1992a. "Reflection on `Development': Grassroots Approaches and Alternative Politics in the Third World." Future, 411-436.

-- 1992b). "Culture, Practice and Politics - Anthropology and the Study of Social Movements". Critique of Anthropology. 12(4): 395-432.

Giroux, Henry A. 1985. "Introduction" In Paulo Freire (ed.), The Politics of Education: Culture, Power, and Liberation. London: Macmillan, pp. XI-XXV.

Goodman, Tracey. 1989. "Understanding and Utilizing Indigenous Knowledge to Facilitate the Rural Development Process." Unpublished MA dissertation. Ontario: Carleton University.

Hofling, Charles Andrew. 1996. "Indigenous Linguistic Revitalization and Outsider Interaction: The Itzaj Maya Case". Human Organization 55(1): 108-116.

Hugh-Jones, Stephen. 1998. A Meeting with Several Agendas: Reflections on Some Recent Development in the Colombian Pira-Parana Region. Paper presented at Social Anthropology Graduate/Faculty Seminars on November 3rd. Brighton: University of Sussex.

IIRR (International Institute of Rural Reconstruction). 1996. Recording and Using Indigenous Knowledge: A Manual. Internet: [] accessed 3/4/1999

Institute for Himalayan Conservation. 1998. Report of 5th Mountain Ecology School. Tokyo: IHC. Japanese.

Institute for Himalayan Conservation-Nepal. 1996. Our Village Environment. Kathmandu: IHCN. (unpublished).

-- 1998. Pun Magar Folktales. Kathmandu: IHCN.

-- 1998. Muktinath Culture. Kathmandu: IHCN.

Kaarsholm, Preben, (ed.) 1991. Cultural Struggle & Development in Southern Africa. Harare: Baobab Books.

Kamata, Yoji. 1995. "A Case Study of Qualitative Project Appraisal using the KJ Method". Appraisal of Small Scale Social Development Project. Tokyo: Kokusaikaihatsu Journal, pp. 66-75. (Japanese).

-- 1996. "An Introduction to `International Cooperation, for Knowledge-Creation': For the Revitalization of Hill Areas in Nepal" Year book on KJ Method. Vol. 19. Tokyo: Kawakita Research Institute. pp. 69-77 (Japanese).

-- 1997. "The Application of the KJ Method to the Field of International Development". Nurturing Creativity in the Himalayas - In Pursuit of an Alternative Development Model Based on Participation and Field Science. Tokyo: IHC, pp. 41-47.

-- 1999. "Introduction to Field Work". Kaerunouta: Report of 6th Mountain Ecology School. Tokyo: IHC. (Japanese).

Kawakita, Jiro. 1986. KJ Method -- Let the Chaos Speak for itself. Tokyo: Chuokoronsya. (Japanese).

-- 1991. The Original KJ Method, Revised Edition. Tokyo: Kawakita Research Institute.

Kreymeyer, Charles David. 1996. "Cultural Traditions and Community Based Conservation". Grassroots Development 20(1): 27-35.

Kothari, Brij. 1995. "From Oral to Written: the Documentation of Knowledge in Ecuador". Indigenous Knowledge Development Monitor. 3 (2): 9-12.

Levine, Carlisle J. 1996. "From Oaxaca to Washington, D.C.: Community Museums as a Cultural and Economic Resource". Grassroots Development 20(1): 10-13.

Mosse, David. 1995. "People's Knowledge in Project Planning: The Limits and Social Conditions of Participation in Planning Agricultural Development." Agricultural Research and Extension Network Paper 58.

Norberg-Hodge, Helena. 1991. Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

O'neill, Tom. 1994. "Peoples and Polity: Ethnography, Ethnicity and Identity in Nepal". Contributions to Nepalese Studies, 21(1): 45-72.

Oral History Society. 1999. "News". Oral History. Spring: 16.

Pigg, Stacy Leigh. 1992. "Inventing Social Categories Through Place: Social Representations and Development in Nepal." Comparative Study of Society and History. 34(3): 491-513.

Purcell, Trevor W. 1998. "Indigenous Knowledge and Applied Anthropology: Questions of Definition and Direction". Human Organization 57(3): 258-272.

Rahman, Muhammad Anisur. 1991. "The Theoretical Standpoint of PAR" In Fals-Barda, Orlando and M. A. Rahman (eds.), Action and Knowledge: Breaking the Monopoly with Participartory Action Research. London: Intermediate Technology Publications, pp. 13-23.

Reed-Danahay, Deborah E. 1997. "Introduction" Deborah E. Reed-Danahay (ed.), Auto/Ethnography. Oxford: Berg, pp. 1-17.

Scoons, Ian and John Thompson. 1994. "Knowledge, Power and Agriculture: Towards a Theoretical Understanding" Ian Scoones and John Thompson (eds.), Beyond Farmer First: Rural People's Knowledge, Agricultural Research and Extension Practice. London: Intermediate Technology Publications, pp. 16-32.

Scupin, Raymond. 1997. "The KJ Method -- A Technique for Analyzing Data, Derived from Japanese Ethnology." Human Organization 56(2): 233-237.

Sillitoe, Paul 1998. "The Development of Indigenous Knowledge: A New Applied Anthropology." Current Anthropology, 39(2): 223-252.

Skar, Harald 0. 1995. "Myths of Origin: The Janajati Movement, Local Traditions, Nationalism and Identities in Nepal". Contributions to Nepalese Studies, 22(1): 31-42.

Verhelst, Thierry G. 1990. No Life without Roots-Culture and Development. London: Zed Books.

Warren, D. Michael. 1998. "Comments". Current Anthropology, 39(2): 224-225.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Research Centre for Nepal and Asian Studies
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2000, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Kamata, Yoji
Publication:Contributions to Nepalese Studies
Geographic Code:9NEPA
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Previous Article:Population and environment issues in Nepal and the need for community development policy.
Next Article:Maithili linguistic research: state-of-the-art.

Related Articles
Becoming visible: Indigenous peoples believe that to prosper they have to regain control over their lands and resources and to do that they must...
Sustainable development: an ancient indigenous term.
Matauranga tuku iho tikanga rangahau: traditional knowledge and research ethics conference.
Draft resolution.
Recognising and protecting the rights of indigenous people.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |