The politics of co-production: participation, power, and transformation

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Dec 31, 2019
Esther Turnhout, Tamara Metze, Carina Wyborn, Nicole Klenk, and Elena Louder



The global environmental change research community that engages with Indigenous knowledge holders commonly practice engagement in an extractive way: knowledge is treated as data that can be aggregated and understood in abstract and universal form. This assumes that knowledge and governance are separate and gives knowledge co-production the appearance of playing an informative and facilitative role in global environmental change governance. But seeking Indigenous knowledge to inform environmental decision-making implies that Indigenous peoples are stakeholders as opposed to self-determining nations with rights and responsibilities regarding their knowledge systems and lands. Indigenous sovereignty is not respected when knowledge is treated as mere data for collective decision-making. This paper brings literatures on knowledge co-production together with Indigenous knowledge, research, and environmental governance to explain why co-production scholars must move away from seeking to better ‘integrate’ Indigenous knowledges into western science and make way for Indigenous research leadership. 

Article published in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability

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