, Volume 6, Issue 3-4, pp 29-54

Local knowledge and comparative scientific traditions

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Abstract

This article argues that all knowledge is inherently local and that localness provides the basis for comparison between indigenous scientific traditions or knowledge production systems. As collective bodies of knowledge, many of the significant differences between knowledge production systems lie in the work involved in creating assemblages from differing practices. Much of the work can be seen in the social strategies and technical devices employed in creating equivalences and connections whereby otherwise heterogeneous and isolated knowledges are enabled to move in space and time from the local site and moment of their production and application to other places and times. In this way contemporary technosciences are compared with the knowledge systems of the medieval mastermasons, the Anasazi, the Inca, the Australian Aborigines and the Pacific navigators.