New Article: Barriers to Incorporating Traditional Knowledge into Policy, Focus on Reindeer Herding in Finnmark

October 22, 2014 • Philip BurgessBlog, Projects, UArctic EALAT Institute

Polar GeographyA timely contribution has been made to the debate about how governance and traditional knowledge intersect and the barriers that exist when trying to incorporate traditional knowledge into local and regional governance policies with a special focus on reindeer husbandry in Finnmark, Norway. This paper by Ellen Inga Turi and Carina Keskitalo paper highlights barriers to knowledge integration induced by the design of supportive policy instruments of information and institution building, where traditional knowledge is de-prioritized in relation to scientific knowledge.

The paper has been published in the most recent edition of Polar Geography

From the abstract:

In Norway, recent policy reforms for indigenous reindeer husbandry incorporate traditional social organizational units into the governance regime, and are intended to induce greater internal autonomy through self-regulation. Implementation of the reforms have, however, proved challenging, both in terms of achieving policy goals and for incorporating internal autonomy. This article explores how reindeer herders’ traditional knowledge and social organization are incorporated into policy implementation through legislative, economic, institutional, and informational means, focusing on western Finnmark, where implementation challenges have been most pronounced. By drawing upon an analysis of policy documents in combination with semi-structured interviews, this paper highlights barriers to knowledge integration induced by the design of supportive policy instruments of information and institution building, where traditional knowledge is de-prioritized in relation to scientific knowledge and notions of rationality and practicality. As such, this study draws attention to the importance of considering the design of supportive policy instruments from a traditional knowledge perspective, and in particular, to asymmetrical power relations between ways of knowing.

Carina Keskitalo: Department of Geography and Economic History, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

Ellen Inga Turi: Department of Geography and Economic History, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden & UArctic Ealat Institute at International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, Guovdageaidnu, Norway.

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