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Konstruera och rekonstruera traditionell kunskap - en diskursanalytisk studie av texter om internationellt utvecklingsarbete

Lindh, Karolina (2008)
Division of ALM
Abstract
The master's thesis investigates how the concept traditional knowledge is represented by international organizations that are influential in development work and policy making. Departing from a theoretical framework drawing on Michel Foucault, constructed aspects of knowledge and the power relations knowledge production implies are highlighted.

A recent interest within library and information science and practice to document this kind of knowledge raises questions about how traditional knowledge differs from other forms of knowledge and how knowledge organizational tools can be applied. Investigations, which critically explore the concept traditional knowledge, the power relations the concept creates as well as the interests and purposes... (More)
The master's thesis investigates how the concept traditional knowledge is represented by international organizations that are influential in development work and policy making. Departing from a theoretical framework drawing on Michel Foucault, constructed aspects of knowledge and the power relations knowledge production implies are highlighted.

A recent interest within library and information science and practice to document this kind of knowledge raises questions about how traditional knowledge differs from other forms of knowledge and how knowledge organizational tools can be applied. Investigations, which critically explore the concept traditional knowledge, the power relations the concept creates as well as the interests and purposes it serves, have been surprisingly absent within the discipline. The focus in this master's thesis is how traditional knowledge is conceptualized by international organizations. A discourse analytical approach reveals the power relations that are inherent in their descriptions of traditional knowledge and how they describe the relevance of the concept for their work. Six texts produced by the World Bank, UNESCO, UNDP, WIPO and ISCU written during the last 10 years and published on their websites were chosen for a close reading with the intention to illuminate and reveal how the concept traditional knowledge is constructed and represented by these organizations.

Based on a theoretical framework departing from Foucault's theories on power and knowledge the relationship to science, development discourse and intellectual property rights, are shown to be influential in the creation of the concept traditional knowledge. Within the texts ideas about local and global forms of knowledge, poverty, participation, learning and ownership of knowledge stand out as fundamental for international organizations' interest in traditional knowledge whereby their involvement is legitimized. Further, relating the concept to other scientific literatures within the field of post-colonial studies and post-development studies reveals how traditional knowledge within international discussions, as a form of subjugated knowledge, is being created and kept marginalized within an already existing discursive structure that serves interests mainly represented by international organizations and legitimize their existence.

The analysis concludes by showing how traditional knowledge, described as a local form of knowledge and knowledge of the poor, is incorporated into internationally supported development programs and after their approval implemented in local settings. Traditional knowledge is trapped and created in a circular flow ruled and legitimized by international organizations, serving development discourse and the IPR-system and thereby exposing forms of knowledge subsumed under the term traditional knowledge to epistemic violence. By legitimizing already established power relations, the descriptions of the knowledge of the Other turn into a form of 'orientalism'. The thesis concludes by arguing that it is of great importance for practitioners and researchers within the field of library and information science to be aware of these aspects, since subject representations are direct formations and solidifications of particular worldviews

and purposes. Document representations reproduce these, whereby further knowledge production is limited to already existing discursive structures. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Lindh, Karolina
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
Traditionell kunskap, indigenous knowledge, utveckling, subjugated knowledge, dokumentation, Social sciences, Samhällsvetenskaper
language
Swedish
id
1318255
date added to LUP
2008-08-21
date last changed
2014-04-11 14:16:59
@misc{1318255,
  abstract     = {The master's thesis investigates how the concept traditional knowledge is represented by international organizations that are influential in development work and policy making. Departing from a theoretical framework drawing on Michel Foucault, constructed aspects of knowledge and the power relations knowledge production implies are highlighted.

A recent interest within library and information science and practice to document this kind of knowledge raises questions about how traditional knowledge differs from other forms of knowledge and how knowledge organizational tools can be applied. Investigations, which critically explore the concept traditional knowledge, the power relations the concept creates as well as the interests and purposes it serves, have been surprisingly absent within the discipline. The focus in this master's thesis is how traditional knowledge is conceptualized by international organizations. A discourse analytical approach reveals the power relations that are inherent in their descriptions of traditional knowledge and how they describe the relevance of the concept for their work. Six texts produced by the World Bank, UNESCO, UNDP, WIPO and ISCU written during the last 10 years and published on their websites were chosen for a close reading with the intention to illuminate and reveal how the concept traditional knowledge is constructed and represented by these organizations.

Based on a theoretical framework departing from Foucault's theories on power and knowledge the relationship to science, development discourse and intellectual property rights, are shown to be influential in the creation of the concept traditional knowledge. Within the texts ideas about local and global forms of knowledge, poverty, participation, learning and ownership of knowledge stand out as fundamental for international organizations' interest in traditional knowledge whereby their involvement is legitimized. Further, relating the concept to other scientific literatures within the field of post-colonial studies and post-development studies reveals how traditional knowledge within international discussions, as a form of subjugated knowledge, is being created and kept marginalized within an already existing discursive structure that serves interests mainly represented by international organizations and legitimize their existence.

The analysis concludes by showing how traditional knowledge, described as a local form of knowledge and knowledge of the poor, is incorporated into internationally supported development programs and after their approval implemented in local settings. Traditional knowledge is trapped and created in a circular flow ruled and legitimized by international organizations, serving development discourse and the IPR-system and thereby exposing forms of knowledge subsumed under the term traditional knowledge to epistemic violence. By legitimizing already established power relations, the descriptions of the knowledge of the Other turn into a form of 'orientalism'. The thesis concludes by arguing that it is of great importance for practitioners and researchers within the field of library and information science to be aware of these aspects, since subject representations are direct formations and solidifications of particular worldviews

and purposes. Document representations reproduce these, whereby further knowledge production is limited to already existing discursive structures.},
  author       = {Lindh, Karolina},
  keyword      = {Traditionell kunskap,indigenous knowledge,utveckling,subjugated knowledge,dokumentation,Social sciences,Samhällsvetenskaper},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Konstruera och rekonstruera traditionell kunskap - en diskursanalytisk studie av texter om internationellt utvecklingsarbete},
  year         = {2008},
}