Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone


  • Georgina M. StewartEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_362-6

Ethnoscience is a one-word conundrum, since its two parts – “ethno” and “science” – are in tension, if not outright opposition. Science is culture-free by definition: science claims to be universal knowledge, which applies equally everywhere. The prefix “ethno” has the meaning of “cultural,” so the word “ethnoscience” literally means “cultural science.” This notion of “cultural science” flouts the criteria of science and is denied by most working scientists.

Ethnoscience is a more technical form of two-word terms such as Indigenous knowledge, Native science, and many versions such as “African science,” “Maori science,” etc. This notion has been influential in education, where programs of reform in a number of countries have been based on incorporating Indigenous knowledge into the school science curriculum (Aikenhead and Michell 2011).

The concept of ethnoscience has two complementary parts: one, recognition of the basis in science of relevant parts of traditional cultural narratives...


Indigenous Knowledge Technical Form Western Science Cultural Science Indigenous Student 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand