Cultural Discourses of Classification: Indigenous Alternatives to the Tradition of Aristotle, Durkheim and Foucault

Hope A. Olson


The paper explores the cultural construction of classification by identifying fundamental characteristics of classification and examining how these fit with other cultures. Foucault's method of discourse analysis is applied to selected texts on classification in two areas. The first area is classification, originated in the dominant western culture. The second area is classifications from indigenous cultures. It is concluded that classification research needs to have an increasing awareness of the cultural construction of classification schemes, and to work with alternatives to approaches of fundamental universal principles of classification.

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