Appreciating Local Knowledge
In the light of the globalization, (post-)modernization, social fragmentation, and economization of many of today’s living contexts, local knowledge is receiving increasing attention in various sciences. Commonly, local knowledge indicates a counterpart to both rational forms of an explicit knowledge of facts and knowledge of universal validity. Local knowledge attempts to appreciate a more comprehensive view of people’s skills, capabilities, experience, and sophistication. On the other hand, the reference to ‘local’ implies an idea of bounded applicability of knowledge in a specific environment. Beyond this scope of application, local knowledge can be acknowledged either as instrumental in order to achieve specific goals or as an intrinsic value in order to deal with social relations, solidarity, common values and norms accordingly. Social and spatial settings are influential for everybody’s quality of life, personal identity, and political commitment – and local knowledge is the essential foundation in turning these settings into a vivid arena.
This volume is a result of a two-day conference held in November 2013 in Salzburg, Austria, dedicated to bringing together researchers from different scientific disciplines, including sociology, philosophy, social geography, economics, history, interpersonal communication studies, cultural studies, and theology, in order to draw distinct trains of thought about local knowledge in a transdisciplinary fashion: the phenomenon, its epistemic and philosophical reflection, its methodological comprehension, and its practical application.
Elisabeth Kapferer is Research Fellow at the Centre for Ethics and Poverty Research at the University of Salzburg, with a focus on culture and poverty alleviation. Her research interests include local knowledge, cultural memory studies, and representations of poverty and social exclusion.
Andreas Koch is Professor of Social Geography at the University of Salzburg, Vice President of the International Research Centre for Ethical and Social Issues (ifz Salzburg), and Head of the Centre for Ethics and Poverty Research in Salzburg. His research background is in spatial poverty research, geographic information science, and geosimulation modelling.
Clemens Sedmak is a philosopher and theologian. F.D. Maurice Chair at King’s College London; the Franz Martin Schmölz OP Visiting Professorship for Social Ethics at the University of Salzburg; from 2015–2017 Visiting Professor of Catholic Social Tradition at the University of Notre Dame, USA. He is Deputy Head of the Centre for Ethics and Poverty Research at the University of Salzburg and President of the International Research Centre for Social and Ethical Issues (ifz Salzburg). His research interests include poverty research, social ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of science.
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