AO. discursive risk - Tilley (2011)

  • Tilley explores the points at which “representations” turned into “interventions,” as theory and research were applied in practice. Defined in this way, she sees interventions (including development projects) as part part of an ongoing process of knowledge formation and reproduction (16).

  • She includes indigenous knowledge here and argues that most things labeled “traditional knowledge” are in fact a variant of vernacular science; in other words, they have already been translated, selectively modified, and even tested (332).

  • Tilley (2011) found national and international scales were relied on and therefore uses a third tact, using a primary lens of “empire” to reveal how national, imperial, and international scientific infrastructures were constituted simultaneously.
  • Yet the process of localizing knowledge was paradoxical: as insights de- rived from African experiences were folded into the fabric of scientific dis- ciplines, as well as the policies of colonial states, Africans themselves were rarely at the helm of decision making. While there was much give and take in epistemic terms, there was little social parity. This meant that while colonial states and scientific projects might privilege “indigenous knowledge,” often calling into question any simple dichotomy between “Western” and non-Western science, empires in Africa could not entirely escape this di- chotomy. Lurking in the background were always other questions: could science be Africanized without African scientists? Just what counted as science, and who would decide?” (Tilley 2011: 342)


Analytic (Question)




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