CHAPTER TWO THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES AND ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORKS
This chapter is devoted to the description of theoretical perspectives and analytical framework of the research. The theoretical perspectives and analytical framework were discussed principally based on three broad issues. These are (1) characterization of IK pertaining to agroforestry system; (2) changes and continuities of IK in space and time and drivers behind the changes and continuities; and (3) the implications of changes and continuities of IK to sustainability of the agroforestry system.
According to Berkes (2008), IK relatedto ecology emanates from two separate approaches. These are ethnosciences and human ecology (also called cultural ecology). The ethnoscience part focuses on the study of folk taxonomies, ethnobotanical, ethnozoological and others while the human/cultural ecology gives due emphasis to the interrelationship between human and the environment including the relationship of human with animals and plants and various environmental and sometimes supernatural factors (Berkes, 2008).
The human ecology approach appears to be an interdisciplinary approach to the study of IK as it includes four main streams, (1) ethnobiology, (2) agroecology, (3) ethnosciences/anthropology and environmental geography (Berkes, 2008). It deals with adaptive processes by which the nature of society and an unpredictable number of features of culture are affected by the basic adjustment through which humans utilize a given environment (Steward, 1955 as cited in Berkes, 2008).
The current study is situated in the human ecology approach and concept as it describes how the Gedeo, who are engaged in traditional agroforestry practices are able to keep the sustainability of ecosystem through adaptive processes. In other words, the research tries to relate the socio-cultural aspects of the society to the natural ecosystems. It shows the interaction between nature and human being, focusing on human-land interaction paradigm.
The three broad issues are also examined thoroughly based on Knowledge-Practice-Belief complex developed by Berkes (2008). IK acquisition and transmission processes in this study are conceptualized based on social constructivist view, which views reality as socially constructed. In addition, different models such as cultural transmission model (Cavalli-Sfona & Feldman, 1981) modified by Hewlett & Cavalli-Sfona(1986), and the learning sequence for traditional skills and knowledge (Ruddle & Chesterfield, 1977) are among the theoretical perspectives and analytical tools used to examine the dynamics of IK pertaining to agroforestry system of the Gedeo. Considering the human-land interaction paradigm into account, analytical framework linking the different elements of IK and driving forces behind changes and continuities of IK have been developed and used.
There has been a growing debate about the connotation denoted to the knowledge owned by local/ indigenous people. Some scholars use to denote such knowledge as ‘indigenous’, while others use ‘local’, ‘traditional’, ‘folk’, ‘community knowledge’, ‘farmers knowledge’ etc. In most cases, the terms are used interchangeably (Stevenson, 1996; Grenier, 1998; Davis & Wagner, 2003; Stevenson, 2005; Berkes, 2008; Davis & Ruddle, 2010; Rist et al., 2010). There is no universally agreed-up-on use of the term despite the fact that such knowledge emerged from the local practices and peoples’ experiences. However, two of these terms, ‘indigenous knowledge’ and ‘traditional knowledge’, are widely used in most literature (Berkes, 2008).
Indigenous knowledge does not have a universally working definition. Different scholars conceptualize the term differently. Some attribute IK to indigenous people who occupy a certain area, exhibiting distinct culture and way of life. Some perceive it as a knowledge unique to a given culture, or society (Grenier, 1998; World Bank, 2008). While others conceptualize it from the perspective of the process, through which the knowledge is acquired and transmitted from generation to generation. For instance, according to Nakashima et al. (2012) IK is the know-how accumulated across generations, and renewed by successive generations, which guide human societies in their innumerable interactions with their surrounding environment.
Dei (1999) defines IK as a worldview that shapes the community’s relationships with surrounding environments. It is the product of native people’s direct experience with nature and its symbiotic relationship with the social world and, as such, is crucial for community survival. This knowledge, ancient, proven, and based on cognitive understandings and interpretations of social, physical and spiritual worlds, encompasses concepts, beliefs and perceptions of local peoples and their natural human built environments (Dei, 1999). According to Dei (1993) IK is the product of the close and regular interaction of local people with nature. It encompasses values, belief systems, worldviews and norms, cultural traditions of the local people.
Warren, a well-known scholar in the field of IK, conceptualizes IK by signifying its importance, contrasting it with modern knowledge and ways by which it is transferred from generation to generation. According to him, IK is:
[K]nowledge that is unique to a given culture or society. IK contrasts with the international knowledge system generated by universities, research institutions and private firms. Such knowledge is passed down from generation to generation, in many societies by word of mouth. Indigenous knowledge has value not only for the culture in which it evolves, but also for scientists and planners striving to improve conditions in rural localities (Warren, 1991: 1).
IK can also be conceptualized as knowledge and practices that a community accumulates over generations through the process of human-environment interaction (Atteh, 1980). Such knowledge systems are cumulative, representing generations of experiences, careful observations, and trial and error experiments (Grenier, 1998). It encompasses know-how, skills, practices and beliefs that enable the community to achieve stable livelihoods in their environment. It is embedded in community practice, institutions, relationship and rituals.
Berkes (2008) conceptualizes traditional ecological knowledge in a relatively broad manner. According to him, traditional ecological knowledge is ‘a cumulative body of knowledge, practice, and belief, evolving by adaptive processes and handed down through generations by cultural transmission, about the relationship of living beings (including humans) with one another and with environment’ (Berkes, 2008: 7). It is the result of dynamics mix of the past practices and the present innovation, which tested and experimented through trial and error (Berkes, 2008). IK of agroforestry system of Gedeo can be conceptualized as cumulative body of knowledge which is evolving via adaptive processes.
Another scholar who conceptualizes knowledge and practices owned by local/indigenous people is Stevenson (1996). According to him, IK has two sources: traditional knowledge and non-traditional knowledge. Traditional knowledge encompasses specific knowledge of the environment, knowledge of ecosystem relationship, code of ethics governing ecosystem relationship and other traditional knowledge (social, cultural and spiritual). On the contrary, the non-traditional knowledge is not grounded in traditional life style. That is, it is believed to be derived from the interaction made with modern institutions, television and other modern media, formal schooling in numeracy and literacy, the adoption of Western scientific thinking, and exposure to foreign values, attitudes, and philosophies. Therefore, the contemporary knowledge and practices of the Gedeo can be viewed as having two sources: traditional and nontraditional knowledge as shown in figure 2.1 below.
What distinguishes IK from other forms of knowledge?
There has always been a debate among scholars concerning the difference between indigenous/traditional knowledge and western sciences, particularly in fields like anthropology (Antweiler, 1998). Some scholars argue that the binary opposition between the two forms of knowledge appears to be more of artificial or institutional than naturally made (Bebbington, 1993; Leach & Fairhead, 2000; Fernando, 2003). Others argue that the divide is there naturally (Agrawal, 1995; Briggs, 2005). However, there is a consensus that IK is different from other forms of knowledge, mainly western knowledge. This binary division between IK and western knowledge has existed for longer time; however, under contemporary rapidly changing and globlaized world, it would hardly be possible to maintain the binary opposition in a practical sense. Particulary in situations that accomadate both indigenous and modern knowledge and practices, it seems unrealistic to fully maintain the binary opposition between the two forms of knowledge in practical terms. Briggs(2005) states the following regarding the division that are expected to persist:
The tensions created by the binary divide between western science and indigenous knowledge clearly persist, despite many well-intentioned efforts to reduce or eliminate them. It may well be that this issue will remain unresolved… However, the reality in rural areas may be much more pragmatic, in that farmers and others may, because of the demands of daily existence, develop a hybrid, mediated knowledge, which is developed and continually re-worked often in highly innovative ways (pp.15).
Existing literature reveals distinctions between the two forms of knowledge based on the contents of the knowledge and epistemological evidences. In this regard Levi-straus (1980) pointed out that the difference between science and IK lies in which phenomena are observed and ordered. IK is viewed as ‘concrete’ and relies almost exclusively on intuition and evidence directly available to the senses; while the scientific mode of thought is characterized by a greater ability to break down data presented to the senses and to reassemble it in different ways. Moreover, IK is perceived as a closed system, which is characterized by a lack of awareness that there may be other ways of regarding the world. In contrast, science is an open system whose adherents are always aware of the possibility of alternative perspectives to those adopted to any particular point of time (Levi-straus, 1980).
The work of Agrawal (1998) in setting a boundary between IK and western sciences based on substantive, methodological and epistemological, and contextual dimensions seems rational. The substantive dimension addresses the difference in terms of subject matter and characteristics of both forms of knowledge. In this regard, IK deals with those activities that are intimately connected with the daily livelihoods of people rather than with abstract ideas and philosophies.
The methodological and epistemological dimensions emphasis the difference in terms of the methodology used to investigate reality and the ways the world is viewed. He pointed out that:
Science is open, systematic, objective, and analytical, and advances by building rigorously on previous achievements. What scientists do is supposed to be strictly separable from common sense or non-science. IK, in contrast, is no more than common sense; it is closed, non-systematic, without concepts that would conform to ideas of objectivity or rigorous analysis, and advances, if at all, it fits and starts (Agrawal, 1998;17)
The contextual dimension focuses on the difference in terms of the fact that one is context bounded while the other is not. IK is assumed to be context bounded; it exists in close and organic harmony with the lives of the people who generated it. It cannot be separated from larger moral or normative ends. On the other hand, scientific knowledge is context free and it thrives on abstract formulation and exists divorced from the lives of people.
On the other hand, Berkes (2008) summarizes the characteristics of IK or traditional ecological knowledge by comparing and contrasting it with western knowledge (Table 2.1).
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION
1.1 Traditional Agroforestry System
1.3. Objectives of the Study
1.4. Research Questions
1.5. Significance of the Research
1.6. Scope and Limitations of the Study
1.7. Organization of the Dissertation
CHAPTER TWO . THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES AND ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORKS
2.2. Theoretical Perspectives
2.3 Empirical review: IK in the global, Africa and Ethiopia context
2.4. Analytical Frameworks
CHAPTER THREE STUDY AREA DESCRIPTION AND RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1. Description of the Study Area
3.2. Research Approaches and Design
3.3. Reliability and Validity of the Research
CHAPTER FOUR CONSTITUENTS OF IK OF GEDEO AGROFORESTRY SYSTEM
4.2. Characterization of IK of Agroforestry System
CHAPTER FIVE CHANGES AND CONTINUITIES OF IK OF AGROFORESTRY SYSTEM OF GEDEO
5.2. Mechanisms of IK Transmission and Acquisition among Gedeo people
5.3. Intergenerational difference in the transmission and acquisition of IK of agroforestry system as perceived by the local people .
5.4. Intergenerational variation of IK of agroforestry system of Gedeo
5.5. Agroecology based variation of IK of agroforestry system
5.6. Gender based differences of IK of agroforestry system
CHAPTER SIX DRIVERS OF IK CHANGES AND CONTINUITIES
6.2. Biophysical Changes and their Impacts on IK Changes and Continuities
6.3. Demographic and Socio-Economic Changes and their Impacts on IK Changes and Continuities
6.4. The Impacts of Agricultural Extension Programs and Development Packages .
CHAPTER SEVEN SYNTHESES AND IMPLICATIONS TO SUSTAINABILITY
7.2. Changes and Continuities of IK pertaining to Agroforestry System
7.3. Driving Forces behind IK Changes and Continuities
7.4. Implications to Sustainability
CHAPTER EIGHT CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT