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Towards Epistemic Justice with Indigenous Peoples’ Knowledge? Exploring the potentials of the convention on biological diversity and the philosophy of Buen Vivir

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  • Saskia Widenhorn

Abstract

Notwithstanding significant attention given to indigenous knowledge in contemporary governance frameworks, historical epistemic inequalities persist. This article uses the concept of epistemic justice to contrast two governance frameworks, which on the surface have similar aspirations, namely an international agreement (Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)) and an indigenous philosophy (buen vivir), which has been adopted as public policy in Ecuador. While both frameworks stress the importance of indigenous knowledge, the CBD does so in a manner that tends to reproduce existing epistemic hierarchies, unlike the buen vivir, which makes visible a marginalized form of knowledge. However, its translation into public policy may hamper the possibilities of the buen vivir to enhance epistemic justice as a governance framework. The findings show that the formal recognition of cultural diversity does not necessarily entail a promotion of epistemic diversity and social justice. These insights call for the need to question the promotion and representation of indigenous peoples’ knowledge as an inherently political act.

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  • Saskia Widenhorn, 2013. "Towards Epistemic Justice with Indigenous Peoples’ Knowledge? Exploring the potentials of the convention on biological diversity and the philosophy of Buen Vivir," Development, Palgrave Macmillan;Society for International Deveopment, vol. 56(3), pages 378-386, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:develp:v:56:y:2013:i:3:p:378-386
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