Experts should consider local knowledge a legitimate type of learning, and incorporate it into strategies and policies


It is important to note that local knowledge might represent a successful coping strategy for people living with the daily threat of a hazard. It can be regarded as distinctive patterns of activity and behaviour of people in certain cultural contexts, or, the more or less coherent structure of coping strategies (Bankoff, 2004a). For instance, people that are exposed to certain risks or disasters (floods, volcano eruptions, etc.) tend to “employ culturally informed local adaptive processes to minimize their potential losses” (Bankoff, 2003, p. 161; see also Zaman, 1994). Thus research and recognition of different coping strategies can improve the general knowledge on preparedness and response to different type of disasters and, when possible, their mitigation (Bankoff, 2003). Recognition in this context means that the local knowledge should be incorporated into 'dominant' or experts' strategies and policies. Or, in simple terms, local knowledge should be recognized and valorised as a legitimate type of specialist learning.

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