The Indigenous Knowledge Systems’ Perspective on Sustainable Development

  • L. Jan SlikkerveerEmail author
Part of the Cooperative Management book series (COMA)


This Chapter embarks on the description of the growing interest since the 1960s in ethnoscience as an advancing discipline to observe and understand the emic view of non-Western peoples themselves on their universe and life, as opposed to the conventional, rather normative perspective of outsiders on ‘primitive’ cultures. Following the evolution of the discipline of ethnoscience as complementary to science, a number of sub-fields increased, accumulating a new body of knowledge, beliefs and practices. When a small group of scientists made a breakthrough in the 1980s by documenting the relevance of ethnoscience as the study of culture in terms of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) for sustainable development—also known as neo-ethnoscience—a revolutionary shift took place in the paradigm of international development cooperation, away from a ‘top-down’ towards a ‘bottom-up’ approach. After the pioneering role of the LEAD Programme at Leiden University in this academic process since the late 1980s is highlighted, special attention is given to the so far largely ignored role of indigenous institutions in strategies of poverty reduction for sustainable development. The Chapter concludes with a preview of two alternative development approaches of integrated local and global knowledge systems in terms of Integrated Microfinance Management (IMM) and Integrated Sustainable Community Development (ISCD) as IKS-based contributions to the realisation of poverty reduction for the people of Indonesia and elsewhere around the globe.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LEADLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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