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Journal Article

The Politics of Tek: Power and the "Integration" of Knowledge

Paul Nadasdy
Arctic Anthropology
Vol. 36, No. 1/2 (1999), pp. 1-18
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40316502
Page Count: 18
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Politics of Tek: Power and the "Integration" of Knowledge
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Abstract

This paper takes a critical look at the project of "integrating" traditional knowledge and science. The project of integration has been and continues to be the cornerstone of efforts to involve northern aboriginal peoples in processes of resource management and environmental impact assessment over the past 15 years. The idea of integration, however, contains the implicit assumption that the cultural beliefs and practices referred to as "traditional knowledge" conform to western conceptions about "knowledge." It takes for granted existing power relations between aboriginal people and the state by assuming that traditional knowledge is simply a new form of "data" to be incorporated into existing management bureaucracies and acted upon by scientists and resource managers. As a result, aboriginal people have been forced to express themselves in ways that conform to the institutions and practices of state management rather than to their own beliefs, values, and practices. And, since it is scientists and resource managers, rather than aboriginal hunters and trappers, who will be using this new "integrated" knowledge, the project of integration actually serves to concentrate power in administrative centers, rather than in the hands of aboriginal people.

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