Accepted paper:

Decolonizing development research? Identities, interests and institutional room for manoeuvre in collaboration between Tanzanian and Finnish academics


Tiina Kontinen (University of Jyväskylä)
Ajali Nguyahambi (University of Jyvaskyla)

Paper short abstract:

Based on the authors’ long-term experience on North-South collaboration the paper reflects how different disciplinary identities, academic interests and institutional environments show in the ethical questions related to partnership and the idea of decolonizing development knowledge.

Paper long abstract:

The recent discussion in development research has emphasized the effort of decolonizing development research as an ethical path to take forward. The paper reflects on ethical questions this effort encounters in the practical conduct of research practices in North-South partnerships. Based on their long-term experience of collaboration between Tanzanian and Finnish universities, the authors reflect how different kinds of disciplinary identities of “Development Studies”, academic interests in different locations, and both national and international institutional environments show in the ways of which collaboration is conducted. The examples are drawn both from institutional capacity-building initiatives and from academic research projects within Development Studies where the authors have occupied different positions such as beneficiary, participant, researcher and principal investigator. The ethical dilemmas emerging in design and preparing funding applications, in division of roles and responsibilities, practical conduct of research and capacity-building activities, and preparation of academic publications will be discussed through practical examples about the challenges met and the changes made on the basis of learning through collaboration. In conclusion, we reflect how diverse, elements of identity, interests and the available institutional room for manoeuvre both enable and constrain imaginaries and practices related to decolonising development knowledge.

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Impactful development?
Ethics, justice, and the practice of development research [paper]