Talk:Indigenous knowledge system

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 Definition Set of knowledge, skills and technologies existing and developed around specific conditions of indigenous populations and communities. [d] [e]
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As with Shamanism, indigenous knowledge systems encompass much more than traditional medicine. In fact, I've seen and heard them discussed in terms of ecology and resource management much more often than with medicine. They also encompass indigenous history are most often discussed in terms of local development. See for example the current projects of the UNESCO branch cited in the article. --Joe Quick 16:40, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Again, my reason for writing this was to fill in context for some other articles that are specifically in healing. Traditional African Medicine, in particular, but also European herbalism will depend on this area. As with shamanism, I am perfectly willing to rename this something along the lines of indigenous health knowledge system, fully understanding that not all cultures will separate "health" from "religion". Perhaps we could collaborate on both. The anthropological references I readily have available are specialized to medical or military contexts.
Incidentally, you might want to look at/comment upon sympathetic magic, which is somewhat more general. I'd be interested in your thoughts. Howard C. Berkowitz 17:23, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I'd say sympathetic magic is overly narrow as well (though many authors who use the term also narrow it in the same way). Shamanism is, in the end, mostly about healing, so I think we can make it work with the alt. medicine articles, but this one should probably be focused as much on ecology and resource management as medicine.
It will be about a week before I can really dig into my books, but I'd be happy to collaborate. In fact, it would be quite nice to actually work with someone else around here. --Joe Quick 01:57, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I'd be glad to work on this, but my interest is really from the perspective of health alone. There are certainlly times when an overall structure is extremely valuable, but, for me, I can't justify the time to spend on the other aspects that I don't find within my interests. Yes, I recognize some cultures take a more holistic view, but my mind doesn't work that way in this specific context. I can think of specific epidemiological cases where indigenous ecological knowledge was part of the solution, but I'm just not that interested in writing on holistic ecology in and of itself. Howard C. Berkowitz 02:04, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Moving forward

  • First, I suggest we drop the word "system" from the title. Indigenous knowledge, though diffuse, can be defined much more easily than indigenous knowledge systems, which might mean any number of things depending on which development agency you're talking to.
  • Then, let's set out a simple definition for the opening that can be made more nuanced as it is discussed throughout the rest of the article. I suggest something along the lines of this:
    Indigenous knowledge is knowledge of ecology, botany, medicine, agriculture and other fields that does not originate in academic or corporate research institutions but rather is based on local-level decision making and is frequently inherited through tradition and culture. Indigenous knowledge is increasingly used by development agencies like the World Bank in the formulation of their objectives and methods for local-level projects and it has drawn attention from pharmaceutical companies interested in the efficacy of traditional medicine.
  • From there, we could proceed with sections devoted to each subtype of indigenous knowledge (health, ecology, etc.) and its use or we could proceed with a broader discussion of its use by development agencies and other bodies, the challenges they face, and the controversial aspects of sch uses. I think I would prefer the second approach.
  • For starters, we should be looking at these sites and the resources they cite:

--Joe Quick 16:08, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Again, understand my perspective is health, and "system" does seem to be the conventional usage there. I don't discourage your broader approach, but perhaps the health oriented one should be a subarticle. I'm far less interested in what the World Bank calls it than what the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control call it. I'm not necessarily assuming "development agencies".
I'd also question the emphasis on pharmaceutical companies; not all traditional medicine is even pharmacologic, although some certainly is of interest to pharmacology — not all of which is done by commercial organizations. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:28, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
To be honest, I don't know a lot about the pharmaceuticals. I only know that some have been criticized for patenting things that traditional peoples have told field researchers. I'll look into it to see what basis ther really is.
In any case, the World Bank and UNDP are inseparably part of the discussion of indigenous knowledge in anthropology. I suppose I don't mind if you want to focus on health only, but this article should certainly not do so. --Joe Quick 16:34, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't mind renaming this article to something else, more euphonious than Indigenous Health Knowledge Systems, but, while I have every respect for general cultural anthropology, I'm just not interested in working on general developing country anthropology at this time. In other areas, I certainly use anthropological inputs to military planning, but I'm just not a general anthropologist by inclination. Howard C. Berkowitz 16:48, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
In the spirit of the write-a-thon, I'm going to quit complaining and do something about it. In a few minutes, I'll start a parallel article titled Indigenous knowledge based on course material from my "Anthropology of Development" class. We can then either incorporate material from here into that article or figure out how to develop them separately. --Joe Quick 16:53, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Good. I glanced through it and it looks informative. Again, though, this article was intended to support a specific set of definitions in the context of traditional medicine/integrative medicine, as used by the World Health Organization and other documents — I'm not trying to assert "ownership" over it but to be consistent with sources. This usage is not about economic development, not from the World Bank and UNDP, etc. While they are related, they involve different organizations and areas of work. How do we avoid ambiguity? I see you used IKS as an economic development term in that article.
Should this, perhaps, be renamed "traditional medicine IKS"? Arguably, we have two sets of authoritative organizations claiming the term. Howard C. Berkowitz 18:27, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
They really are the same thing. It just happens that I know development material better and so have started with that. As I understand the medical context, IKS is simply indigenous knowledge of traditional medicine; is that correct? Give me a little time and I'll try to get things in order. --Joe Quick 18:58, 4 February 2009 (UTC)