Abstract: Study of local environmental knowledge has led to a general critique of state epistemology, positing a controlling, official knowledge that crushes competing accounts of nature. Skeptical of that claim, in this paper I assess the differences between state and local knowledge empirically, using a case study of the Kumbhalgarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Rajasthan, India, to explore the way knowledge varies across class, caste, gender, and affiliation within the state forest bureaucracy. The results show that state versus local knowing is not the most meaningful division in epistemology, and that it is the daily struggle over resources in local political economy that gives rise to contending accounts of nature and environmental change. The conclusions further point to knowledge alliances between state and local actors that render certain claims powerful and so determine natural resource management policy and direct landscape change.
Economic Geography – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 2000
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