Accepted Paper:

Decolonizing methods in transdisciplinary projects of (Bio-)Diversity?  


Marion Mangelsdorf (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)

Paper short abstract:

Following the theoretical approach of 'situated knowledge' regarding the interdisciplinary 'manufacture of knowledge' I want to discuss the transfer of this approach in transdisciplinary contexts of (Bio-)Diversity – asking how varieties of knowledge practices can be taken equally seriously.

Paper long abstract:

Questions of diversity are present in environmental sciences and gender studies, as in diversity of flora and fauna in the former, and amongst people of different ethnicities, genders, ages or status in the latter. From an inter- and transdisciplinary perspective, both fields deal with the challenge of how to fostered (bio-)diversity - mostly even against a general trend towards monocultures in environmental and social systems. How can we develop specific practices of 'doing nature' and 'doing gender' that do justice to the heterogeneity of living creatures as well as to the diversity of social forms of expression in various contexts? To address this question, research on the distinctive needs and knowledge cultures of different people, groups and their diverse natural environments is required. Therefore - as Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Kim TallBear empathize - decolonizing methodologies and recognizing indigenous knowledge cultures is a basic task.

But, what does ist mean to decolonize methods? Even in the field of (feminist) eco-sociology, where the intersection of biological as well as social conflicts are present, it's unclear how varieties of knowledge practices can be taken equally seriously. The (self) reflectional approach of 'situated knowledge' - developed inter alia by Sandra Harding, Donna Haraway and Patricia Hill Collins - is helpful to reflect - quoting Karin Knorr-Cetina - the 'manufacture of knowledge'. Moving along these theoretical approaches and along experiences in the field of 'participatory action research' (PAR), which promises answers to these questions on a methodological level, I discuss the (de)colonizing aspects of a 'manufacture of practices and tools'.

Panel T051
Feminist Postcolonial STS