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Interpretive Political ScienceSelected Essays, Volume II$
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R. A. W. Rhodes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198786115

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198786115.001.0001

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On Local Knowledge

On Local Knowledge

(p.168) 10 On Local Knowledge
Interpretive Political Science

R. A. W. Rhodes

Oxford University Press

This chapter decentres the normative arguments favouring local knowledge suggesting the notion is more elusive than many recognize. It summarizes the mainstream political science and the interpretive views of local knowledge; unpacks the family of ideas that constitute local knowledge; identifies ten family resemblances, suggesting that local knowledge is: situated, embedded, ever-changing, contested, contingent and generative, performative practice, experiential, specialized, and comprised of folk theories that are authentic, natural, and accessible. It distinguishes between recovering local knowledge as advice to decision makers and as inscription. It describes four ways of collecting stories about local knowledge; observation, questionnaire, focus group, and Most Significant Change. Finally it decentres local knowledge, highlighting its complex specificity, contingency, and generative characteristics. Throughout, the chapter plays with such genres of presentation as telling tales from the field and aphorisms in the philosophical style as well as describing the various ways in which others tell their stories.

Keywords:   local knowledge, storytelling, family resemblances, situated agency, policy advice, inscription

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