Science and tradition: roots and wings for development pages:29-53
Science and tradition roots and wings for development location:Brussels date:5-6 April 2001
The ethnography of the civilizational clashes in the (post)colonies, or in so-called development projects, witnesses to an intrinsic difficulty in modern, objectivist, anthropological science. Do the anthropologists and the interuniversity development cooperation merely reproduce professionally self-serving statements about a generalized Other, or are they able to adequately render, and tune themselves into the multiple voices, views and dilemmas of the various cultural groups or subjects ? Anthropological 'fieldwork', in a deep and abiding engagement with local people, plants in our academic experience a vision of meticulous, engaged, historically or contextually grounded, as well as morally accountable knowledge. Above all, the very endeavour witnesses to the possible kinship between local knowledge and science. The local knowledge may be inside the global science, or some dimensions of the latter may be decidedly unglobal and very culture-bound. Critical-interpretive anthropological fieldwork also learns us that most practical knowledge is not language-based, yet embodied, gender- and site specific.