Any full investigation of Caribbean lifeways must be able to account for the creolising interactions of Amerindian, African, European and Indian ways of knowing and making in the region’s transcultural space. There are various creolisation models that seek to accomplish this task. Unfortunately, they all suffer from the self-imposed limitation of focusing only on the cultural side of the modern nature/culture duality. They often describe in detail the plural cultural beliefs of the Caribbean. At the same time, however, they pay homage to western scientific “facts” about nature and routinely use them as an unproblematic resource to explain the “beliefs” of all others. In other words, they behave as though no one, other than Europeans, ever developed knowledge that is authorised to explain the one possible reality known as nature even though all peoples may have constructed many exciting, interesting and exotic cultural beliefs. This “great division,” recalling the human/animal divide, opposes Europeans who invented reason, science, and what it means to be free to other societies who “let themselves be defined by tradition” and opinion (Stengers 2000:62). This manner of reasoning is at the heart of western hegemony.
Tukontology was developed to counter this western hegemony and to reform the creole models that accept the modern invention of plural cultures playing over a single nature. Informed by Actor-Network-Theory (ANT), it uses music as a heuristic that should give scholars who may not be familiar with the theoretical nuances Science Studies the opportunity to internalise an approach that is easy to visualise and that can make a fundamental difference to how they describe the world. It also eschews the habit of viewing western science as the only authority that “knows” about a single nature and, because of this authority, is able to judge all other ways of knowing and making to be mere cultural “beliefs.” This new approach is proposed as a practical tool that will enable scholars to synchronically and diachronically describe the outcomes of colliding traditional lifeways and their derivative ontologies. Importantly, it neither starts with the modern assumption of a culture/nature duality nor does it use the hegemonic “laws” of western science as resources across all ways of knowing.