Traditional medicinal knowledge, recognition and regulation
thesisposted on 22.05.2021, 16:02 authored by Nicole Aylwin
As a number of global legal and political institutions grapple with ways to recognize and integrate TMK into their institutional frameworks, how traditional practices are 'recognized', and what work 'recognition's being asked to do become key questions. Three international frameworks that play a key role in recognizing TMK in the international arena are the Convention on Biological Diversity, the World Intellectual Property Organization and the World Health Organization. By examining the way in which these three bodies have recognized and integrated TMK into their respective regimes, while and drawing on the scholarship of anthropologists, critical legal scholars, intellectual property experts and legal and policy literature, I will argue that the recognition of TMK in the international legal and political arena has led to the creation of complex legal and political spaces where recognizing traditional medicinal knowledge has fragmented it, siphoning off the social, cultural and spiritual aspects of it that remain incompatible with the current neoliberal paradigms. Simultaneously, recognition and integration have been used to co-opt traditional knowledge in order to extend governance regimes that integrate TMK and its holders without challenging the basic, outdated and highly unequal and unethical power relations on discourses of recognition are based.