How might Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (ITEK) inform ecopsychology?
This article suggests several key lessons ecopsychology might learn from Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (ITEK). For example, second generation ecopsychology sought to remove the political radicalism and so-called “political correctness” that had been present throughout earlier versions of ecopsychology. But Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge reminds us that any such claims to be above politics can only ever be merely rhetorical; and are themselves deeply political. For ITEK reminds us that Western versions of ecopsychology are culturally situated and deeply embedded within the profoundly destructive cultures of techno-scientific modernity. This paper suggests that ITEK may offer to environmental psychologies (including some versions of ecopsychology) a counsel of profound humility, inviting recognition of the need to acknowledge not only scientific styles of psychological knowledge but also the aesthetic and sacramental dimensions of a post-secular animism. In striving to be “tough-minded” or rigorous, secular environmental psychologists have often warned against dangers of “eco-mysticism” and of romanticizing Indigenous or nonmodern cultures. This paper argues that such warnings, however well-intentioned, run the risk of unconsciously perpetuating cultural imperialism. ITEK may offer a way of radically, but usefully, re-storying modernity in a manner that may be profoundly useful to those climate change and other environmental campaigners who are now seeking a post-secular environmental psychology that moves from facts to emotion, from the head to the heart. Given the urgency of our current environmental predicaments, such re-storying and re-framing may be timely.
The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.
Citation : COOPE, J. (2019) How might Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge (ITEK) inform ecopsychology? Ecopsychology,
ISSN : 1942-9347
Research Institute : Mary Seacole Research Centre
Peer Reviewed : Yes