Challenging Knowledge Capitalism: Indigenous Research in the 21st Century
Socialist Studies / Études socialistes Volume 9 (1), Spring 2013
13 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2016
Date Written: 2013
The last decades have seen renewed attempts within some sections of the academe to discredit both Indigenous ontologies and research methods. In such cases, Indigenous research is deemed inadequate unless it meets western standards of validity. In the context of the neoliberal turn, with its emphasis on market relationships and the related pressures to monetarize research, the efforts to discredit Indigenous researchers take on a dangerous new dynamic. In the past, political correctness concerns dismissed Indigenous research as the misguided political appeasement of disgruntled ‘minorities’.
Now such political correctness issues are recast as an insistence on the importance of promoting markets and private-public, or Indigenous-industry partnerships. Indigenous research is deemed important only insofar as it is compatible with overriding concerns for knowledge that creates profits. The elevation of the market as the main driver of the academy has profound implications for how we think about knowledge. For Indigenous peoples in particular, this approach constitutes a form of cognitive imperialism which impacts on Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous scholarship in deeply contradictory but ultimately very damaging ways. This article explores the implications of this in the context of an environment that is in many ways familiar in its relative inhospitality to Indigenous research and in other ways changing at bewildering speed.
Keywords: cognitive imperialism, academia, indigenous studies, indigenous knowledge, indigenous research, indigenous scholarship, Maori Studies, Anthropology, World Bank, OECD, indigenous education
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