AGENDA ITEM (questions, comments, ideas, screeds, manifestos, etc.)

Ch.12, pg. 227
"Realist theory supports the argument that Inuit Knowledge and Western science each contribute to understanding the Arctic."  Whose understanding?  Western science?  Indigenous knowledge is increasingly informing western science, but is the relationship reciprocal?  How much has modern indigenous knowledge come to rely on science, if at all?

Ch.1, pg.39
Indigenous knowledge is in many ways used for more immediate applications of navigation, survival, etc., rather than developing universal theories about the world.  However, the Carolinian Navigators still developed methods and techniques that rely on "false" theories, such as the rotation of the stars relative to the earth.  Based on their criteria for navigation, these 'localized theories' prove to be successful for their contextual purposes, their creation of knowledge space.  Even though they rely on what Western science knows as false, do we still consider the Navigators' theories falsified?

Navigators' knowledge relies on their understanding of complex dynamic relationships of nature, rather than ultimate universal facts or equations.  We (scientists and Navigators) could arrive at the same result (location of an island) using very different methods and tools, but I wonder who comes out having gained more knowledge.... (pg. 40) Micronesians train themselves to use their own bodies and senses far more than do Euroamericans." This reminds me of McClintock's methods of intimately understanding systemic relationships within nature... How are contemporary tools and techniques cutting short our ability to use sensory knowledge in discovery within science?

"Schooling itself is often made to stand in for "science" as the opposite pole to everyday life."


I think this is really important to consider in our own education - i.e. how much have we and how much do we actually learn about everyday life from school?  What disciplines or courses within educational curriculum stand out from this model?  Home economics?  School itself acts a bit like a laboratory in the teaching methodology, rather than learning through doing as demonstrated through the gothic construction. 


If education is a stand in for science, where does STS fall in this? 


Should we be trying to bring the 'local' or 'everyday' back into education, and what do we mean by these terms?

Check out Michel de Certeau, Jean Lave.

1- General understanding , pages such as maybe page 21 , 14 and  273

2- page 4

" Melanesians rely more on sensory information and their own bodies in the absence of of our instruments of observation." page 14


" Inuit place humans in the sphere of nature and a inseparable from nature , while Arctic science does not" page 21

"decision making requires more than expert knowledge.... full humanity ... ... must become part of the production of knowledge"

1- can we conclude

that humans and their senses have the core effect in framing  Indigenous knowledge whereas in modern science, especially western science instruments of observation and experience that scientists use have the main role in shaping the scientific knowledge? if this comparison is correct , what is the position of scientists in modern science? humans in primitive communities use instruments to frame their knowledge, so what is the roles of instruments in the indigenious knowledge? do they have secendary roles? or this fact is applicable just in some cases of scientific knowledge and can not be generelize to the whole?

" Christian and islamic fundemnetalists religions exhibiting both antiscience and proscience positions"

2- one example: in Islamic knowledge, to recognize whether the Ramadan month is finished or not, political leaders do not use telescope as they believe that : the human beings vision with no interfere of modern instruments should determine their religious knowledge" so what can we call the  religious knowledge, for example Islamic knowledge in this case? can we call it indigenous as human beings and their senses have the central role in framing knowledge?



p206 Smith

I'm having a slightly difficult time placing this book in relation to STS as a field... Is this an early attempt to link cultural anthropology to STS?  An attempt to claim the study of science for cultural anthropology rather than sociological/traditional STS approaches?  Is this mostly a disconnect for me because Nader is an anthropologist who doesn't usually focus on science (but more typically the law), unlike some of the chapter authors like Traweek, Gusterson, etc?

Nader starts with a discussion that recurrs throughout the articles -- what are we talking about when we talk about science?  Even throwing aside conventions about pure vs applied science, it seems like it slips between scientific institutions, sets of knowledge, bureaucratic management structures, establishment of authority.  "Science" means all these things, of course -- is this a choice to avoid the deliniations of sociological STS?

Discussion of first principles/axioms/doxa of fisheries management -- is this a biased science framework?

Is Nader’s point that despite all of science’s differences with “local” and “indigenous” knowledges…they are in fact made of the same elements (taking off from Malinowski,the religious, magical and scientific)? That is, when made “naked”…different knowledge systems look much more alike than the average person would initially believe (i.e. “primitive” versus “modern”). In that sense…it seems like it is sort of both anti-relativist and relativist…that is, every culture has some similarity in the manner of its thinking…and yet different “sciences” can spring up in different local contexts.

to Ross
The Smith article had reminded me of a critique of Latour (ANT, or the pre-ANT of Laboratory Life) -- that it could be applied as equally to scientists as it could a particularly skilled community of fishermen.  (Is this Collins?  Wynne? I'll keep looking for the citation.)  That wasn't meant as a complement, but to say that those tools did not provide particular insight into science, just a very generic framework for looking at expertise.  So reading Nader in the same way you are, I end up wondering if it is the object or the tool -- is the main point that these kinds of knowledges are similar, or that the approach finds the same structure in each?

In what ways is this book different from Turnbull's book? Both seem to be drawing from the same idea that science is a "local knowledge" and in that way can be placed alongside indigenous knowledge systems for purposes of illumination. But is "naked science" as Nader sees it commensurate with indigenous knowledge? Different from?

Kelly Ch. 2 & 3

Though indigenous or day-to-day activities generate knowledge outside of the methodologies of science these knowledge bases represent skill sets learned through practice, merit based solely on rigor and repetition makes a poor case for science, especially good science.  Most of the skill sets in this book (ex. Mayan medicine and Cree hunting) exist from ‘trial-and-error’ practices in which knowledge arises from excessive failure and progress is ultimately limited.  Though the knowledge gained maybe precise and comparable to western knowledge shouldn’t the unwieldy and messy nature of these practices forgo their acceptance as valid science in the presence of alternatives?

Kristin Chapter 11
Public Policy, Sciencing, and Managing the Future

Mapping a nonlinear model onto regional fishing management by allowing policy to have room for acknowledgment of small changes in the local water temperature, marsh drainage, waste dumping, and an array of contributing disturbances that leads to a change that ripples along the food chain, seems to inherently make sense as it allows for a robust accumulation and display of knowledge. But his model also suggests that “it is difficult to have a full rationality of action” (209) because it’s susceptible to new input. Linear models of fishing management allow you to gather the data, analyze it, and produce projections for the conditions of fish stocks that help to write future management plans.


How would we determine a productive model to follow for achieving results? Nonlinear or linear?

Chapter 12 Ellen Bielawski

"What happens to knowledge when one culture rapidly imports the products of science?  On this question, philosophy of science remains essentially silent (219)." 

This author asked a question of STS in 1996. Is STS still silent on this issue?  (Or otherwise, Logan  is shamelessly asking for more references on knowledge translation).

I agree with Nicole, I'm a little confused as to where to place this book in the field (I mean, I think I would put into the same group as the research that I am doing - but I also haven't figured out where that is yet either). I would also lump it in with Turnbull...but again while they are similar they are also different.

I also wonder what the process was for selecting what articles were accepted and what ones were not for this collection. (I also wonder how/why Turnbull chose those particular case studies as well).

Chapter 4 (p 90)
All of chapter 4, but especially the part about shopping and doing loose math about how many apples to buy, is a good way to describe ways in which lay knowledge is more important than rigid scientific knowledge.  This approach can perhaps be used to help link STS ideas to popular press books and articles to help alleviate some of the white-tower-ness of STS scholarship.
Ch 15 Nader

What does the class think of Nader's claim?  "The many forms of knowledge, expert and lay, may be requisite for a future (273)."  How do we as STS and architect scholars support such an endeavor in a practical sense?  Or should we?