Indigenous knowledge and international (anthropocentric) law: The politics of thinking from (and for) another World

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International law is gradually recognising Indigenous knowledge (IK) as a human right that must be respected, as an asset to be protected under property rights rules, and as a condition to effectively implement environmental and development initiatives. However, scholarly contributions lack a critical analysis of the ways this recognition, rather than acknowledging the relevance of these knowledge systems to reshape current institutions and discourses, has meant the reaffirmation of hegemonic ideas and regulations. After a deep examination of the literature of international law and international development, and an analysis of international discourses and mechanisms that address IK, this chapter argues that international law has essentialised, commodified, and instrumentalised IK, treating it as a second-level system of knowledge unable to support broader international rules to address environmental, sanitary, and food crises.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of international law and anthropocentrism
EditorsVincent Chapaux, Frédéric Mégret, Usha Natarajan
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781000892222
ISBN (Print)9780367858223
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NameThe Routledge Handbook of International Law and Anthropocentrism

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 selection and editorial matter, Vincent Chapaux, Frédéric Mégret and Usha Natarajan; individual chapters, the contributors.


  • Indigenous rights
  • International law
  • Ethnoscience


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