Conceptual and Methodological Advances
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Edited by Henk A. Becker and Frank Vanclay
3 Using local knowledge James Baines, Wayne McClintock, Nick Taylor and Brigid Buckenham Introduction The concept of ‘local knowledge’ can be used to examine the role of community consultation and participation in SIA. Local knowledge refers to information and understanding about the state of the biophysical and social environments that has been acquired by the people of a community which hosts (or will host) a particular project or programme. The origins of the term ‘local knowledge’ (Herrera, 1981; Mazur and Titilola, 1992) are found in the literature of rural technology transfer in Third World countries. There it has been variously referred to as traditional knowledge (Moles, 1989), traditional environmental knowledge (Morin-Labatut and Akhtar, 1992), indigenous technical knowledge (Howes and Chambers, 1979), people’s knowledge (Wignaraja, 1991) and rural people’s knowledge (Chambers, 1983). The local knowledge of any community has evolved over a period of time from the interaction of the people’s cultural values and social organization with the physical environment in which they dwell. As such, it is a mixture of knowledge that has evolved within that community, and knowledge that has been acquired from outsiders (Morin-Labatut and Akhtar, 1992). Thus many social scientists (for example, Chambers, 1983; Richards, 1985; Gamser, 1988; Mazur and Titilola, 1992) have proposed that agricultural scientists use both local knowledge and western scientiﬁc knowledge to promote sustainable development. Taylor et al. (1995) present the project or programme cycle (see Figure 3.1) in order to demonstrate how the SIA process can provide an interface between the...
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