Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainable Development: A Case Study of Zabo.

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:30
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Jyoti DAS, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
A detailed interaction between environment and society; culture and development demand sharp attention in contemporary sociology. This research intends to explore and evaluate the scope of indigenous knowledge in forming a revised understanding of sustainable development. In recent years indigeneity has found voice in two directions- one regarding the struggle for rights of indigenous people across the globe, and the other is a growing awareness of the relevance of indigenous knowledge for a greener development practice. One prime limitation often put forward against the concretization of indigenous theory for sustainable development is the limitation of cultural relativism. ‘Zabo’ is an indigenous integrated farming system known for its excellent water harvesting method, said to have originated in the Chakhesang community of Phek district, Nagaland in North-East India. Can such a practice serve as a non-arbitrary symbol of development in general and that of sustainable development in particular? This study identifies the characteristics of environmental sustainability embedded in Zabo on the backdrop of power-knowledge complex. An ethnographic case study of Zabo seeks to move beyond mere incorporation of indigenous practices as elements of technical knowledge judged on the parameters of science and modernity. Accordingly, this study maps out the relation between such practices, community life and worldview. It also traces the spread of such practices to other areas. Methods of primary data collection used are sample household survey, non-participant observation and interview apart from the secondary sources. This study relies on data triangulation to analyze the research problem. The research finally attempts to highlight the dynamics between indigenous and modern scientific knowledge systems in a globalizing world vis-à-vis sustainable development.