Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.


(SOCIAL ANTHROPOLOGY) the study of the indigenous bodies of knowledge within a culture area. Thus, ethnobotany records local botanical knowledge and plant taxonomies, and ethnoecology records local knowledge of ecological factors; while ethnohistory, which possesses similarities with ‘history from below’ (see HISTORY WORKSHOP JOURNAL), seeks to provide an historical account from the point of view of the society under discussion, using the oral historical record within the community. In general, the prefix ethno- used in this context refers to an analysis from the point of view of the ‘folk’ culture(s) being studied.

The ethnosciences are now seen as having some value in achieving ecologically sensitive forms of development, and forms of development also in tune with local needs. The recovery of‘lost’ knowledge that the ethnosciences represent also raises questions about the progressive nature of orthodox SCIENCE and about RATIONALITY. See also MULTICULTURALISM, COGNITIVE ANTHROPOLOGY. Compare ETHNOGRAPHY, ETHNOMETHODOLOGY.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
Ethnoscience, as defined in the web site iResearchNet, 'is the study of what native people know about the world around them.
Harding (1998) claims that a new kind of comparative ethnoscience movement emerged from the older 'Eurocentric' colonial frameworks which represented the knowledge traditions of other cultures as the products of 'savage minds'.
(8.) For Geertz's criticism of other approaches that reify and reduce cultural modalities (e.g., ethnoscience, cognitive anthropology), see Geertz 1973, 11.
In chapter 4, "A Medical Laboratory," she argues that the survey promoted an ecological approach to health and medicine, especially in the fight against trypanosomiasis, which incorporated both Western technical science and African ethnoscience. Chapter 5, "A Racial Laboratory," examines the survey's involvement in race relations, focusing in particular on debates over eugenics in Kenya between the physician Henry Laing Gordon and the African Research Survey's J.
While he provides recommendations for new process of development, he emphasises on the need of "untraditional approaches including direct interference in their national affairs and governance." This approach, certainly meant for good, poses an open challenge to developing countries' sovereignty and authenticates the existence of western ethnoscience in development paradigm.
In the decades leading up to the Civil War and then in the period of Reconstruction, transcribed archives of African American music "would bring the spiritual into, and launch black music on a new cultural trajectory" in which it was "considered as a modern scientific artifact, a specimen fit for capture by the spreading nets of an emergent ethnoscience" (125).
The findings of ethnoscience (the branch of anthropology concerned with the cultural aspects of cognitive structure (1)) and comparative semantics indicate that it is a rare thing to find a word in one language that is exactly equivalent to a word in an unrelated language.
(5) We also look at the modern field of ethnoscience as both an attempt to revive prematurely dismissed, non western natural knowledge traditions, as well as a pretext for bioprospecting, which has sometimes been quite exploitative.