Traditional Knowledge in Policy and Practice

Approaches to Development and Human Well-Being

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Traditional knowledge (TK) has contributed immensely to shaping development and human well-being. Its influence spans a variety of sectors, including agriculture, health, education and governance. However, in today’s world, TK is increasingly underrepresented or under-utilized. Further, while the applicability of TK to human and environmental welfare is well-recognized, collated information on how TK contributes to different sectors is not easily accessible. This book focuses on the relevance of TK to key environment- and development-related sectors, discusses the current debates within each of these sectors and presents suggestions as to how TK can be effectively integrated with conventional science and policy. A valuable resource to researchers, academics and policymakers, Traditional knowledge in policy and practice provides a comprehensive overview of TK, and its links and contributions to social, economic, environmental, ethical and political issues.




The ingenuity of humankind to constantly innovate and adapt over the millennia has put all contemporary thinkers on development into cycles of dismay and disbelief when they consider the manner in which humans in their own times have survived. In our journey through history, starting from discovering the utilities of different resources, modifying them to suit our requirements to technological refinements to our innovation processes, we have witnessed several changes, especially related to how we use, manage and govern resources, territories and the values we attach to production, consumption and exchange processes. As a consequence, today we find ourselves with two sets of divergent worldviews: (1) the mainstream, dominant Cartesian worldview (also commonly referred to as the western/ European) and (2) other worldviews, commonly referred to as traditional knowledge (TK), which are different from the mainstream and include those from non-western cultures.


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