Perceiving the Environment in Finnish Lapland

Tim Ingold, Terhi Kurttila

Tutkimustuotokset: Kirjoitus lehdessä tai erikoisnumeron toimittaminenArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu

207 Sitaatiot (Scopus)


We contrast two understandings of traditional knowledge: as enframed in the discourse of modernity (MTK), and as generated in the practices of locality (LTK). Where `indigenous knowledge' is opposed to science, it always appears in the guise of MTK. This modernist understanding rests on a genealogical model of transmission that separates the acquisition of knowledge from environmentally situated practice. For local people, by contrast, traditional knowledge is inseparable from the practices of inhabiting the land that both bring places into being and constitute persons as of those places. To illustrate the meaning of LTK, we describe how Saami people in northernmost Finland perceive their environment, focusing on their experiences of the weather. These are shown to be embedded in life-histories, dependent on tasks of travel, multisensory, crucial to spatial orientation and the co-ordination of activities, and seasonally periodic. To regard people's knowledge of the weather as an aspect of tradition means thinking of tradition as process rather than substance, as part of a way of life conceived not as the enactment of a received script but as the continual negotiation of a path through the world. Here there is no contradiction between continuity and change. LTK, we show, is tantamount to skill: a property of the whole organism-person, having emerged through a history of involvement in an environment. From the perspective of LTK, there is no opposition between traditional knowledge and science. For science is itself a form of LTK, differing from other forms in the practices through which it is generated, rather than in the epistemological status of the knowledge itself
JulkaisuBody and Society
TilaJulkaistu - 2000
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Vertaisarvioitu alkuperäisartikkeli

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