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Abstract

What constitutes expert knowledge in the Arctic Council? How does seeking recognition for knowledge distinctiveness impact epistemic authority to inform decision-making in international environmental organizations? The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental organization that brings together scientific and Indigenous knowledge in a co-production of knowledge process to inform state decision-making on environmental matters. This research study centers on the case study of the Arctic Council to understand how two different knowledge systems challenge each other or converge together to provide expert advice to states. A total of 13 semi- structured interviews were conducted with the Indigenous groups, scientists, and staff members of the Arctic Council to gain alternative perspectives on the co-production process. All data were coded and analyzed using the software MAXQDA. The research findings show that some knowledge systems can be characterized as universal, compartmentalizing, and theoretical-based, while others are local, holistic, and experiential-based. The integration between distinct knowledge systems is subject to a translation process through mixed-method mediation. Unsuccessful translation maintains the hierarchy of the expert group with the overall authority to inform state decision-making. Successful translation can either reverse this hierarchical order or create heterarchy.

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