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Knowledge integration and Indigenous planning in the Philippines

Ibañez, Jayson C. (2014). Knowledge integration and Indigenous planning in the Philippines. PhD Thesis, Charles Darwin University.

Document type: Thesis
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Author Ibañez, Jayson C.
Title Knowledge integration and Indigenous planning in the Philippines
Institution Charles Darwin University
Publication Date 2014-10
Thesis Type PhD
Supervisor Garnett, Stephen T.
Wallace, Ruth M.
Castillo-Ramos, Ameyali
0501 - Ecological Applications
Abstract Knowledge integration projects involving Indigenous peoples are commonly criticized on equity issues and for further disempowering some groups within the Indigenous collective. These critiques arise because attention to Indigenous worldviews, values and aspirations is often limited with few benefits accruing to Indigenous knowledge-holders from the process. Practices that engage social justice and cultural empowerment principles offer one solution. I investigated this using Indigenous planning in the Philippines as an heuristic lens. The thesis first frames a working definition of ‘knowledge integration’ based on critical analyses that highlight the importance of ‘power’ differentials. A review of ecological knowledge among Philippine traditional societies and the role that informal institutions perform in social reproduction also shows that the Indigenous component of knowledge to be integrated is strongly place-based. However, content analysis of Indigenous plans from Mindanao showed little acknowledgement of and engagement with Indigenous ecological knowledge or deployment of cultural empowerment principles. Both the literature and Indigenous peoples’ perceptions suggest alternative instrumental and value rationalities about the “right way” to plan. Out of these data, a village-based Indigenous planning process was developed and tested in three villages. The process framework merges extra-local planner knowledge with that of Indigenous participants, while mindful of disparate worldviews, social resources, needs and priorities, and standards of respect in relationships between knowledge holders. The process harnesses the ‘best of both’ knowledge systems, but more reflexivity, action and commitment is expected from planners and their institutions. The planning process and the general demeanor of facilitators resulted in overall agreement about its effectiveness and value. Sustainability of the process, however, depends on the commitment of planners and their institutions to see planning through to implementation. In the Philippines, this means mainstreaming the process as complementary to the statutory ADSDPP framework before centralized planning occurs at the larger ancestral domain scale.

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