This panel will discuss and analyse the complexities, outcomes, challenges and hopes of collaborative research. We will move away from normative and/or celebratory accounts of collaboration, trying to thicken the ongoing debates by critically exploring actual forms of collaborative engagement.
Collaboration has become central to the re-imagination and redefinition of our practices. On wide terms, the notion of collaborative research refers to a particular type of fieldwork encounter based on designing, implementing and sustaining joint projects with our research subjects. Within that framework, collaborative engagement with social movements allows us to advance the analysis of contemporary collective action; it is relevant for the activists by integrating their own insights, interests and questions into the research; and addresses salient debates in Anthropology, problematizing traditional forms of knowledge production and validation, and locating epistemic and methodological questions at the centre of our projects. However, while recognizing its potentialities, it should not be glossed over that collaboration is always tensed by a multiplicity of heterogeneous demands that come from both the academic field and the research subjects, and that have to be continuously addressed and renegotiated. In this sense, and in order to deepen our understanding of the praxis and politics of collaborative ethnography, it is necessary to move away from normative and/or celebratory accounts of collaboration, and to thicken the ongoing debates by critically exploring actual forms of collaborative engagement. In that sense, this panel is aimed at discussing collaborative research experiences and projects developed along with social movement organizations worldwide, analysing its complexities and outcomes, its challenges and hopes. Given our own locations in South Africa, Mexico and Spain, we are particularly interested in considering proposals coming from the Global South, understanding the Global South as epistemic locations.