CASCA/IUAES2017 Conference in Ottawa
In follow-up to the CASCA 2014 round-table on the Promising Uncertainties of Collaboration in Anthropology Today, we welcome papers that seek to critically examine both the methodological and theoretical possibilities, challenges, and assumptions associated with collaborative research.
Although collaboration has always been a part of anthropological research, emphasis on more ethical engagement has opened up new avenues for exploration and a reconstitution of the boundaries between researcher and "researched." A push towards the co-production of knowledge, participatory action research, and other forms of negotiated practice, are producing a new and exciting body of work. However, collaboration is not without challenges. At CASCA 2014, Dr. Andrew Walsh organized a round-table on the "Promising Uncertainties of Collaboration in Anthropology Today." In follow-up to that session, we welcome papers that seek to critically examine both the methodological and theoretical possibilities, challenges, and assumptions associated with collaborative research.
Within this context, we wonder how our ideas of collaboration shifted over time. How is our research enriched through collaborative practices? In what ways does collaboration complicate the research endeavour? When is it appropriate not to collaborate? When does collaboration become unethical? How does collaboration shape knowledge production? How is the co-production of knowledge negotiated?
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Pour une éthique intersubjective : conditions, moyens et enjeux éthiques d'une tentative d'ethnographie collaborative entre un doctorant et les Eenouch de Waswanipi.
Au Québec, les moyens requis pour mettre en place la collaboration entre chercheurs et Autochtones, via les principes de propriété, contrôle, accès, possession, ne sont pas accessibles aux étudiants. Leurs possibilités éthiques, informelles et formelles, s'élaborent surtout dans l'intersubjectivité.
Les conditions de production de connaissances scientifiques sont nombreuses. La collaboration en est une majeure aujourd'hui au Canada exprimée dans le cadre de la décolonisation de la recherche académique. Réclamée par les organismes autochtones et non-autochtones, la collaboration requiert, au Québec, l'application des principes de propriété, contrôle, accès, possession (PCAP). Garde-fous pour les populations autochtones étudiées et sources d'inspiration pour les chercheurs, ces principes requièrent des moyens non accessibles à tous les chercheurs. Les étudiants sont les premiers concernés alors qu'ils constituent le groupe de chercheurs majoritaire. La collaboration ne peut être donc garantie. Quelles sont alors les conditions et les moyens éthiques disponibles aux étudiants pour la mettre en œuvre ? Quels en sont les enjeux éthiques ?
À partir de mon ethnographie de doctorat avec les Eenouch de Waswanipi, je propose que des possibilités informelles et formelles pour une collaboration étudiante avec une Première nation sont envisageables. Elles s'élaborent à partir d'une éthique intersubjective, c'est-à-dire des rapports et des engagements désinstrumentalisés respectueux des besoins et des intérêts du chercheur comme de ses interlocuteurs locaux. L'inconnu et l'inconfort des rapports interpersonnels en sont donc des aspects fondamentaux, d'autant plus qu'ils ne sont pas incompatibles avec la création d'accords formels, telle une entente de partage de données.
J'argumente que l'éthique intersubjective est favorisée par des spécificités estudiantines (l'ethnographie de longue durée, le manque de moyens pour assurer un partenariat pré-terrain) et des réalités locales à Waswanipi (mode relationnel inclusif, absence de protocole, occasions formelles).
Giving voice to pregnant and breastfeeding women: how they construct trust and distrust in food concerned about the presence of chemical substances
This paper explores how an active participation and a significant role of pregnant and breastfeeding women in research can be important when we investigate their food and health experiences, creating a horizontal dialogue between them and the researches.
This paper analyses how a group of pregnant and breastfeeding women construct trust and distrust in food concerning the presence of chemical substances. We have taken into account the perspective of theses women and shown how an active participation and a significant role of them in research can be important when we investigate their food and health experiences. The use of their own viewpoints -keeping in mind their habits, routines, perceptions and worries- allow us to deepen our knowledge on qualitative investigation of social and cultural perception, discourses and practices of internal contamination. This participative way of research shapes a complex approach to build a political economy of environmental health, and to study about the culture of toxicity, food practices and health and quality of life. Giving voice to pregnant and breastfeeding women and integrating their perspectives, this research intends to create a horizontal dialogue between them and the researches and to construct a shared knowledge with anthropologist and other experts. Based on these considerations, this paper goes into more depth on the study of narratives and participative observation of a group of pregnant and breastfeeding women from four different regions of Spain to analyse sociocultural context of acceptance of risk and trust on food consumption and chemical contamination.
Responsible to whom? Confronting ethics in collaborative research
This paper will explore the complexities of ethical conduct in collaborative research and how a personal commitment to social justice and transformative action played a role in my decision to withdraw from a collaborative project that would have created positive change in the community where I work.
Anthropologists have long emphasized the importance of collaboration as a means of creating more meaningful inquiry and as a way of addressing the political and social inequities inherent in the research endeavour. Participatory Action Research and other community-based models seek to democratize the creation of knowledge and work to dismantle the hierarchy that exists between the academy and community members. Despite the obvious benefits, negotiating the ethics of collaborative research can be exceedingly complex. Power relations are dynamic and must be negotiated throughout the research process. Differing expectations can create confusion about responsibility, and diverse understandings of what collaboration means can complicate partnerships. Based on ethnographic research conducted in southern Ontario in 2016, this paper will explore the complexities of ethical conduct in collaborative research and how my personal commitment to social justice and transformative action played a role in my decision to withdraw from a collaborative project that would have created positive change in the community with whom I work.
A Community Conversation on the Sex Industry in London Ontario (Canada): Complicating the "Collaborative"
As a PhD candidate conducting research with male sex workers in London ON, I participated in planning & presenting at a forum on the sex industry for a grassroots community group. Complicating ideals of collaboration, I consider my positionalities as I attempted to reach a public audience.
For decades, those who sell sex have been voicing their concerns about research performed on their communities, & both those who sell sex and academics express concern over the power imbalance researchers have over study participants (Bowen & O'Doherty 2014). One solution to this power imbalance has been to work with or give representative power back into the hands of the researched. Unfortunately, the discourses produced, regardless of the methods, are often repetitively altered, reinterpreted, & declared as more "authentic" & cooperative in an effort to legitimize the research process (& appear less exploitative). In other words, as I am implicated in a position of dominance, while at the same time I attempt to shift "the nexus of power" (Heron 2007, 151) I need to counter current limitations & be held accountable to the participants in my study some other way. If academically my researching "with" those who sell sex is limited, then other opportunities for engagement & self-representation are presumably important & necessary as part of the philosophy of participatory research. I took my involvement with local community politics as an opportunity to take advantage of my privilege in being approached as a knowledge producer (the valued academic) & hopefully act as catalyst for more impactful & participatory advocacy work with some of the men I interviewed in my research. Though the conversation was intended to be a space of equality, formatted to influence a dialogue that could reduce disinformation, this was not as straight-forward as I originally thought.
The ghosts of power: reflections on the ethics of collaboration
This paper examines the assumptions about power and ethics associated with the collaborative turn in anthropology and other social sciences. It argues that assumptions of a subject’s lack of power, and her /his willingness to be heard, risk to reinforce – rather than minimize - inequalities.
Collaboration is often seen, by the anthropological literature on collaborative ethnography, as an ethical way to minimize issues of power and representation. Similarly, many scholars from other disciplines (e.g. sociology, psychology) have emphasized the importance of participatory approaches, in order to overcome the inequalities between researchers and research subjects. But what does it mean, in contexts of inequalities, to be ethical? What are the definitions and the underlying assumptions about power and ethics? By drawing on ethnographic fieldwork and different experiences of collaborative research, this paper critically considers the assumptions about power and ethics associated with the collaborative turn. I argue that the unilateral assessment of a subject's supposed lack of power, and her /his willingness to collaborate and to be heard, risk to reinforce inequalities and the researcher vs. research subject dichotomy. Such assumptions obfuscate the complex positionality of research subjects, and pre-empty the ways people are willing, if so, to collaborate and to claim their voices. I argue that adopting a mode of "collaborative research uncertainty" can help us to examine and reconfigure ethical ways of knowledge production and collaborations.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.