Knowledge and power : the tale of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data


The phrase 'knowledge is power' is understood to mean that if individuals and groups in a society attain knowledge through transmission of knowledge (education), they attain wisdom. This wisdom is then used to assert power (Bacon and Montagu 1857). However, as Foucault (1990) argues, knowledge power recreates itself in a circular process. Therefore, who determines what knowledge is - and who has the right to speak to that knowledge - is important. In this commentary we critique the power and knowledge structures of the economic, political, social and cultural resources that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data. We then challenge the current holders of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data and the colonial worldview from which such data are converted into knowledges. To map a new path, we offer solutions that are embedded in the concept of Indigenous Data Sovereignty (IDSov) and Indigenous Data Governance (IDGov)

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