Charles Darwin University

CDU eSpace
Institutional Repository

CDU Staff and Student only

The Problem of Scale in Indigenous Knowledge: a Perspective from Northern Australia

Wohling, Marc (2009). The Problem of Scale in Indigenous Knowledge: a Perspective from Northern Australia. Ecology and Society,14(1):Article 1.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 21 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your CDU eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Download this reading Wohling_8352.pdf Published version application/pdf 71.81KB 634
Reading the attached file works best in Firefox, Chrome and IE 9 or later.

Title The Problem of Scale in Indigenous Knowledge: a Perspective from Northern Australia
Author Wohling, Marc
Journal Name Ecology and Society
Publication Date 2009
Volume Number 14
Issue Number 1
ISSN 1708-3087   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-69149101171
Start Page Article 1
Total Pages 14
Place of Publication Canada
Publisher Resilience Alliance Publications
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Over the last decade, indigenous knowledge has been widely touted by researchers and natural resource managers as a valuable contributor to natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. In Australia, the concept of indigenous knowledge has gained such rapid currency that it has tended toward an essentialized and universal truth rather than remaining a diverse range of highly localized and contested knowledge. In this paper, I undertake a critical analysis of some of the current issues around the interpretation and application of indigenous knowledge and its relationship with natural resource management in northern Australia. Through a focus on how indigenous knowledge operates at a range of scales, I argue that indigenous knowledge is not adapted to the scales and kinds of disturbances that contemporary society is exerting on natural systems. Rather than being realistic about the limitations of indigenous knowledge, I argue that nonindigenous interpretations of indigenous knowledge have propelled us toward reified meanings, abstracted concepts, and an information-based taxonomy of place. The result can be the diminishing and ossifying of a dynamic living practice and the failure to recognize expressions of indigeneity in contemporary forms.
Keywords decision making
ecological scale
indigenous knowledge
natural resource management
northern Australia
Description for Link Link to published version

© copyright

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in CDU eSpace. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact

Version Filter Type
Access Statistics: 484 Abstract Views, 635 File Downloads  -  Detailed Statistics
Created: Wed, 24 Feb 2010, 12:41:09 CST