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Researching violent contexts: A call for political reflexivity

Abdelnour, S; Abu Moghli, M; (2021) Researching violent contexts: A call for political reflexivity. Organization 10.1177/13505084211030646. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Violent contexts are not “normal” research settings; they involve abuses, power disparities, and collective histories of violence that researchers should be alert to. Being unreflexive to these risks can cause harm in the form of objectifying people and context, normalizing violence, or silencing voices. Political reflexivity can equip researchers to better identify, understand and mitigate these harms, and where possible, challenge structures that do the marginalizing. We articulate political reflexivity through feminist standpoint theory, which asks researchers to critically examine their positionality and privilege in relation to the geopolitics of the research setting, epistemic privilege of marginalized participants, and political implications of their work. Practicing political reflexivity can help researchers situate their work along a “decoloniality continuum,” which includes research complicit with the maintenance of violence, a hybridity approach that aims to understand and challenge the (colonial) underpinnings of violence by centering marginalized knowledge, and research that seeks reparation or liberation, meaning redress and radical equality for marginalized peoples, ideas and histories. We conclude with a call for researchers to identify methods and paths to strengthen our understanding of political reflexivity, and to support efforts to decolonize knowledge.

Type: Article
Title: Researching violent contexts: A call for political reflexivity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/13505084211030646
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/13505084211030646
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).
Keywords: Decolonial research methods, feminist standpoint theory, political reflexivity, research ethics, violent contexts
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10131409
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