6 Frogs and 'others'
DOI link for 6 Frogs and 'others'
6 Frogs and 'others' book
The evidence suggests that disagreements over the identiﬁcation of creatures does not follow any predictable social dimensions, as with plants too (Sillitoe 1983). Contrary to Berlin (1992: 225) who, unhappy that disputed classiﬁcations question his orderly hierarchical taxonomic assumptions, speculates that gender-structured knowledge differences may explain Wola disagreements over names.8 But this is unexceptionable when we accept that identiﬁcation depends on a fundamentally different approach to classiﬁcation. We might anticipate the absence of any deﬁned social structuring to knowledge in an egalitarian society that lacks social classes ‘in the know’ (experts) and others ‘in the dark’ (lay persons). In hierarchical societies such social classes are an integral aspect of power relations, control and manipulation. This puts an interesting slant on current concerns in indigenous knowledge enquiries and participatory development to allow for the, sometimes conﬂicting, interests of different stakeholder groups in a community. In acephalous tribal contexts it is not a question of accommodating to political strategies that use knowledge-brokering to legitimate the authority of some over others. Rather it should be a question of not promoting development interventions that interfere in ways that might compromise these egalitarian regimes, where disputing what is known is an aspect of keeping power labile and preventing any dominant knowledgeable class emerging and subjugating others.