Community based monitoring: finance, knowledge systems, and power

Authors: Melpatkwa Matthew*, , Alice Cohen, Acadia University, Kate Neville, University of Toronto
Topics: Political Geography, Environment, Indigenous Peoples
Keywords: community-based monitoring; political economy; traditional ecological knowledge; water; power
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Community-based monitoring (CBM) programs are increasingly popular models of environmental governance around the world. Accordingly, a handful of review papers have sought to highlight the various benefits, challenges, and governance models associated with their uptake. While these reviews have been pragmatic in their recommendations and in supporting CBM scholars and practitioners in implementing and understanding the various possible forms of CBM, they have largely been silent on issues around the power structures implicit in CBM. This paper asks what the implications are of funding sources for the inclusion of different knowledge systems in CBM. In investigating the intersection of finance and knowledge systems, we find that finance is a key source of power in shaping CBM programs. We suggest that tracing funding arrangements helps us to better understand the motivations for creating CBM programs and using CBM-collected data, and also helps to illuminate the power dynamics that govern how different knowledge systems are considered within these programs. Through this work, we explore questions of intellectual property, histories of institutional exclusion and the privileging of certain knowledge systems, and the relationships of trust and mistrust across different groups and authorities, with the aim of stimulating critical discussions on the power relationships in CBM that will be useful to scholars and practitioners.

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