First Advisor

Harry Anastasiou

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Conflict Resolution


Conflict Resolution




Indigenous knowledge, Life form patenting, Structural violence, Violence -- Social aspects, Peace-building, Nonviolence, Intellectual property, Indigenous peoples



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 150 p.)


This thesis considers some conflicts involving indigenous peoples that arise from the universal standardization of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) over Plant Genetic Resources (PGR). My study presents the research problem of how to include indigenous peoples in dialogue as a prerequisite for conflict transformation. To better understand this problem, and potential solutions, I conducted participatory action research (PAR) through an ethnographic case study of Himalayan farmers working with the grassroots network Navdanya. The study explores the research question: how do Garhwali farmers experience grassroots mobilization for biodiversity and indigenous knowledge (IK) conservation? This question is intended to generate data for conflict resolution analysis on how to engage indigenous peoples in dialogue on the subject of IPRs over PGR. I discuss five themes that emerge from the data collected including: experiences and strategies in grassroots mobilization, culture and sharing, the seed, climate change and women. My research is divided into three separate, but interrelated elements. Firstly, I discuss my methodological choices and experiences. Secondly, I present the ethnographic research, thematic data analysis and draw conclusions. Finally, I frame the literature in the context of the theory of structural violence to explain the significance of conflicts arising from IPRs over PGR in the context of the erosion of IK systems and biodiversity.


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Portland State University. Dept. of Conflict Resolution

Persistent Identifier