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Report on the workshop “Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Society”

Report on the workshop “Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Society” published on No Comments on Report on the workshop “Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Society”

Section report “Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Society: Transformations and Challenges” by Philipp Budka and Adam Fiser in TRANS Internet Journal for Cultural Studies, 2010/17, Online:

Of the more than 300 million Indigenous People recognized by the United Nations, a growing minority is actively shaping indigenous visions of a knowledge-based society (e.g. UNHCHR 2001, 1997). These visions are not simply indigenous responses to global mainstream debates over post-industrial development or techno-scientific culture, etc. More importantly, they articulate the actual deployment of new media and information communications technologies (ICTs) by indigenous communities to forward their own policies and practices. They frame how indigenous communities are mobilizing over the internet and on the web to communicate their lived experiences and extend their local networks to global audiences, including and most importantly, a global indigenous audience.

For academics in the field, Indigenous Peoples are opening up spaces of inquiry beyond the digital divide by actively co-creating online communities and transforming their cultural experience through ICTs. Questions about resources, knowledge, power, and access continue to be important, but they have become more complicated by issues of networking and social life, virtual reproduction, and information policy.

Knowledge production within the knowledge society is not only closely related to new forms of communication and technologies, it is also the basic principle of research and academic work. Research with Indigenous Peoples has been changing dramatically over the last forty years, particularly because more and more members of indigenous communities have become actively involved in shaping research policy and undertaking research projects. There is also a heightened sensitivity that research with Indigenous People and communities can be a conflict-ridden endeavour, as Linda Tuhiwai Smith (2005: 2), a Māori researcher, notes when she identifies research as “… a significant site of struggle between the interests and ways of knowing of the West and the interests and ways of resisting of the Other”. The Other in her example, and in our section, represents the position that Indigenous Peoples take as marginal forces within the mainstream currents of the global knowledge society.

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