Knowledges

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In the Oxford English Dictionary, knowledge is defined as “facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject”. It can be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise) or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject); it can be more or less formal or systematic. However, knowledge situates the idea in another dimension.

Nietzsche remarked that, "knowledge is always a certain strategic relation in which man finds himself placed", the struggle for “knowledge” as true or real is always a political battle in the public sphere. Therefore, we can distinguish between general knowledge established by science and local knowledge that is known by everyone or nearly everyone, usually with reference to the community in which the term is used. The first has been defined as referring to culturally valued knowledge communicated by a range of non-specialist media, and is considered an aspect of ability related to intelligence. The second type was defined by Foucault as “subjugated knowledges”: “when I say subjugated knowledges I am also referring to a whole series of knowledges that have been disqualified as non-conceptual non-conceptual knowledges, as insufficiently elaborated knowledges: naive knowledges, hierarchically inferior knowledges, knowledges that are below the required level of erudition or scientificity. And it is thanks to the reappearance of these knowledges from below, of these unqualified or even disqualified knowledges” (Foucault, 1975).

This is what people know, particular knowledge, knowledge that is local and differential, without agreement. Knowledge that allows people to live according to the context and to know how to manage economics, politics or social relations, generally speaking. Sometimes it is named as tacit knowledge or truth deriving from our own personal experiences, which are in fact standards of behaviour and judgment that is constructed by a cultural regime and consequently a product of historical and cultural specificities. This local and cultural knowledge is expressed through language often rich with metaphors and forms “common cultures” and “grounded aesthetics” (Willis, 1996) that you can learn only by relation with others. This kind of knowledge is different from all established knowledge but has the same significance for life. All of these local knowledges could be understood as situated knowledge that allows a decolonisation of scientifically established knowledge.