Social and Management Sciences: The Difficult but Unavoidable Relationship
Whilst the ‘securitisation’ of political discourses on the environment is on the increase, the effects of ‘global climate change’ in society and the environment are been felt ever so acutely. Given this distressing context, it is even more taxing for researchers, consultants and activists to reflect on the scientific paradigms, but also in the effective methodologies and the concrete managerial tools and instruments that can facilitate interdisciplinarity research and the incorporation of indigenous-local knowledge for developing, adapting and adopting sustainable livelihoods. This paper reflects on some research and consultancy experiences in ‘sustainable development projects’ and ‘policy development’ that attempted both the incorporation of indigenous-local knowledge and interdisciplinarity. It is argued that such reflective processes constitute an intrinsic part of the methodologies developed by social sciences, particularly to the so-called ‘ethnosciences’. It is also argued that scientists and managers educated to believe that science is value free are likely to continue opposing or rejecting alternative paradigms in which different orders of reality need to be re-considered as indicative of systems of knowledge with distinctive but equally valid epistemological bases. It is hoped that such reflection helps to solve some of the difficulties encountered in ‘interdisciplinary’ research practices.
Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, Indigenous Local Knowledge, Sustianble Livelihoods, Research Practice
Dr. Oscar Forero
Research Associate, Informatics Collaboratory of the Social Sciences - ICOSS, University of Sheffield