Accepted paper:

Local ecological knowledges and the North-South knowledge divide: consequences for citizen science and participatory approaches


Sara MacBride-Stewart (Cardiff University)
Zeeda Fatimah Mohamad (Faculty of Science, University of Malaya)

Paper short abstract:

Local ecological knowledges are often “globalized” but less is known about tools based in two-way directional flows promoting south-south or south-north collaborations. The paper examines questions about agenda setting and transferability from the perspective of a novel transcultural Heartware’ citizen science approach in a Malaysian context.

Paper long abstract:

Local ecological knowledge is knowledge, resulting from lived experience, which is situated in its context. It can advance or supplement scientific knowledge and help contribute to its debates, making the process of knowledge-making more inclusive. In an environmental context, its use in predicting small ecological changes, mapped across people’s enduring personal histories with place, helps to fill the data gap at a local level (Karlsson, 2002). Despite its attention to the local, the methods and concepts of local ecological knowledges are often “globalized” so that methodologies generated in other ecological zones are used in alternate socioeconomic, cultural and political settings. While scholars have raised concerns about the transplantation of methodological and technical solutions such as citizen science methodologies, from the global north to the south, less is known about those tools based in two-way directional flows that assign value to knowledges emanating from the South, promoting south-south or even south-north collaborations. This paper addresses those challenges from the perspective of a ‘transcultural Heartware’ citizen science approach for integrated watershed management – developed in Japan and adapted in a Malaysian based context. The approach highlights six functional values - industry, ecosystem, lifestyle, landscape, water resource and spirituality; this paper pays particular attention to the landscape-spirituality links because of their significance to the Malaysian context. The paper seeks to understand to what extent the spirituality-landscape focus is visible on the local and global agenda. The paper re-examines questions about agenda setting and transferability of novel methodological approaches in setting environmental issues across scale.

panel E10
Geographies of knowledge production and legacy of postsocialist technoscience