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Decolonising transdisciplinary research approaches: an African perspective for enhancing knowledge integration in sustainability science

Abstract

The main argument in this article is that methodologies rooted in African philosophies, worldviews, and history, bring to the academic discourse, alternative ways of conducting research. Such methodologies question academic and methodological imperialism, and bring to the centre problem and solution-driven research agendas. The methodologies epitomise indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) as a body of thought that embraces all knowledge systems, and legitimise ILK holders, practitioners, and communities as scholars and authors of what they know and how it can be known. The article gives examples of how mainstream methodologies based on European/Western paradigms marginalise other knowledge systems. It illustrates the contested process of integrating academic and ILK. It further discusses the philosophical foundations of methodologies rooted in African cultures and how these methodologies can inform a decolonisation and indigenisation of sustainability science and transdisciplinary research.

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Correspondence to Bagele Chilisa.

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Handled by Alexandros Gasparatos, The University of Tokyo, Japan.

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Chilisa, B. Decolonising transdisciplinary research approaches: an African perspective for enhancing knowledge integration in sustainability science. Sustain Sci 12, 813–827 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-017-0461-1

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Keywords

  • Decolonisation
  • Indigenisation
  • Integration
  • Indigenous methodologies
  • Indigenous local knowledge