, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 357-368
Date: 09 Nov 2012

Relationships between knowledge(s): implications for ‘knowledge integration’

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Abstract

This article contributes to a critical dialogue about what is currently called ‘knowledge integration’ in environmental research and related educational programming. Indigenous understandings in particular are seen as offering (re)new(ed) ways of thinking that have and will lead to innovative practices for addressing complex environmental issues. A conceptual review of the perceived relationships between ‘Indigenous Knowledge’ and ‘science’ includes just one not others, degrees of separation and a hierarchy. Each of these concepts has implications for how we think about knowledge integration. I frame this critical commentary within my experiences as a non-indigenous student researcher in an Indigenous Studies PhD program. The review offers a guide for communities, students, educators and others who are interested in negotiating the literature on knowledge integration. After distinguishing between informative and decisive integration, I establish the need for an alternate approach to thinking about the processes of informative integration. The article concludes with several notions, including knowledge constellations and simultaneity-based thinking, which invite a reconceptualization of the relationship between knowledge(s). Such an alternative approach has the potential to bring greater clarity about processes that will be more consistently effective for generating new insights and solutions based on multiple, including indigenous, knowledges.