AO: Green produces a particularly strong meta analysis characterizing the discourse related to indigenous knowledge and science in South Africa.
“What aspects of knowledge lie outside the realm of monetarisation” (8)
“Beyond a knowledge politics of ‘cognitive justice’ and the TMTM that bear such a burden in the global race for World Intellectual Property and patents, could the possibilities for intellectual debate expand if the questions posed under the troubled banner of indigenous knowledge are reimagined as a debate about intellectual heritage, including that of modernity? Would publics find new spaces for re-tooling criticism and innovation?” (8)
“Once one recognises the language of indigenous knowledge as a resistant appropriation of the language of difference, and that it is not solely the dvancement of interests that is at stake but an interest in the possibility of different worlds other than those defined by the Cartesian dualisms (mind–body, nature–culture, and so on), it becomes possible to escape the paralysis of a debate confined to whether or not ‘indigenous knowledge’ is a ‘thing’ that is or is not ‘real’.” (5)
AO: Green writes that “the ‘natures’ that are in play are not based on someone’s cultural (or ‘stakeholder’) identity, but on their actual interactions with sea and fish. ‘An object does not stand by itself,’ write Marianne Lien and John Law, ‘but emerges in the relations of practice’. The shorthand term for this insight is that of a ‘relational ontology’.” (6)
AO: The difficulty of rendering everything into words and things.
AO: Green notes the dual paradox that usually accompanies the discussions about indigenous knowledge and science. First, is an argument for multiple kinds of knowledges, taking the view that multiplicity in itself is important. It can argue that all knowledge is ‘ethnic’ or cultural. The other similar argument is that all knowledge can be shown to contain elements of science. She argues that both approaches constitute a moral argument and call for the equality of knowledges based on the assertion that either all ways of knowing the world, including the sciences, are belief, or all are knowledge. She argues that the arguments invert the modernist dualisms – facts or values, knowledge or belief, nature or culture but leave the structure of those ideas intact.
AO: Green notes that knowledge studies are at their strongest when focused on careful study of how knowledge objects come to be generated. She argues that such an approach brings to attention the ways in which research processes bring particular realities into being.
AO: Green notes the difficulty of translating different knowledges is because the sciences have inherited 300 years of tradition: to remove almost all bodily senses except the visual from its ways of knowing. She notes the enumerable – that which can be counted – counts as evidence. She writes: “The archives, databases and evidentiaries measure that which is visible within a particular intellectual heritage, or scholarly orientation. Technologies, in other words, bring particular knowledge objects into being. The implication: programmes of research that look for generative dialogues across knowledge traditions can work towards grasping different measurables, and different evidentiaries, and perhaps need to be bold enough to rethink what it is that technologies could be measuring. In order to pursue this kind of innovation, the methodology is ethnographic: detailed, careful attention to how people know what they claim.” This is important for thinking about what the documentation and opening up of various types of “evidence” or “data” could do towards this work. What other knowledge objects can be captured through repositories like PECE (vs journal article repositories) and what might that do for greater translation of knowleges?
AO: Green notes that where the terms of the IK vs science debate categorise knowledges as different before the parties have spoken a word to each other, there is very little chance of discovering the linkages and partial connections that might begin a new conversation. (6)
Isabelle Stenger (“ the kinds of knowledge produced in the knowledge economy (where universities subsist in a particular relationship with capital, monetary logics, temporal logics, added value, and other controllables), are unable to deal with the unsettled, the unnameables, the ways of knowing that are part of life and care – in short, the aspects of knowledge and knowing that are not easily ‘thingified’” (7)
scalar - Different scales, in other words, are not just about data compression but reflect different purposes people have for knowing and therefore different knowledge objects (or differently known relationships) are in the models. Different reasons to know produce different objects of attention, or different facts – or, to use Latour’s phrase, different matters of concern
Important to “recognize the entanglement with capital in current state-led approaches to indigenous knowledge in South Africa. Once that is on the table, it becomes possible to ask different kinds of questions, and to develop a different intellectual project.” (8)
Green calls for the postcolonial university to find the resources to mount a serious challenge to the ‘(technical) efficiency, (economic) profitability and (scientific) objectivity’ that undergird the neoliberal knowledge economy in order to engage seriously with different knowledges and ways of knowing. (10)
AO. Green is worried about the polarity of the South African version of the science wars which have pitted “indigenous knowledge” against “science.”
Green raises questions about the entanglement of capital in approaches to IK. She argues that once that is acknowledged, then different kinds of conversations can be raised with regard to engaging seriously with different knowledges and ways of knowing. This argument is likely relevant in other contexts outside of South Africa including parts of Latin America, Canada and the U.S.