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Abstract

This paper examines the nature of knowledge with particular reference to so-called “indigenous knowledge” and its treatment within development interventions. It highlights some of the theoretical arguments and different sides of the debate concerning hierarchies of knowledge with development narratives and discourse. Much indigenous knowledge is contained in oral knowledge traditions passed from generation to generation and with the effects of globalisation and modernisation these systems are increasingly under threat. The ultimate goal of the paper is to explore how initiatives can address the inherently ephemeral nature of what is often a key knowledge system within the cultures “being developed” and to suggest that such initiatives are vital in ensuring the developing hordes do not wipe out these fragile memories forever.