Indigenous Pathways:Local Ecological Knowledge and the Role of Intellectual Property in the Preservation of Biodiversity

Coombs,Martin (2008). Indigenous Pathways:Local Ecological Knowledge and the Role of Intellectual Property in the Preservation of Biodiversity Honours Thesis, School of Social Science, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Coombs,Martin
Thesis Title Indigenous Pathways:Local Ecological Knowledge and the Role of Intellectual Property in the Preservation of Biodiversity
School, Centre or Institute School of Social Science
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2008
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Dr. Helen Johnson
Language eng
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Formatted abstract

In recent times, Western science has realised the potential of Indigenous knowledge to provide new ideas and sources of innovation. This 'traditional ' emphasis has led to the development of effective drugs and medicines, as well as the creation of locally-informed resource management strategies. The inestimable economic value placed on this type of knowledge exposes its Indigenous owners to a degree of inequality and they are rarely repatriated for its use. Western legal devices such as intellectual property rights and patent applications are used to assert ownership over this knowledge and place limitations on its access. Anthropological discourse on the interplay between Western and Indigenous knowledge guides ethical decision-making processes and therefore has various implications at the practical level. Through the adoption of a critical perspective, this paper examines the discordance between Western and Indigenous knowledge to elaborate on the underlying complexities of the issue. It is found that resource-driven relationships of this nature are generally represented by subjugation and oppression. Furthermore, the diversity of biological resources is severely impacted by the exploitative use of traditional knowledge. Qualitative case studies and the selected works of authors in the field of biodiversity substantiate this trend. The paper concludes by reinforcing the fact that although there are empirical differences between Western and Indigenous knowledge systems, they also bear similarities that can be fostered to ensure that any engagement between the two is both ethical and fruitful.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
 
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Created: Thu, 14 Nov 2013, 13:52:37 EST by Yu-lin Huang on behalf of School of Social Science