Why “Integrating” Western Science and Indigenous Knowledge Is Not an Easy Task: What Lessons Could Be Learned for the Future of Knowledge?


The potential of integration of Western science and indigenous knowledge, especially in fields like environmental management, is a much debated topic today. However, the difficulties involved in such a task are not always fully understood and, as a matter of fact, experiences of co-management have achieved only partially the expected outcomes. In this contribution, I show how the possibility of a sound integration depends on the possibility to accommodate different interpretations of reality and knowledge criteria, recognizing the value of pluralism and mutual learning. Some remarks on how this argument may be extended beyond the case study, and be relevant for the kind of future we want to envision for human knowledge are also provided.


Keywords: Integrating Western science and indigenous knowledge; Environmental management; Epistemology; Epistemicdiversity; Ecology of knowledges; Future of knowledge.

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