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Accepted Paper:

Fighting for climate justice: the strengths and limitations of collaborative anthropology  
Noah Walker-Crawford (London School of Economics)

Paper short abstract:

Based on shared ethnographic moral understandings, collaborative research provides a useful framework for capturing the situated perspectives of social activists. Drawing on a collaborative study of legal claims for climate justice, I argue that the tensions this produces provide novel insights.

Paper long abstract:

As a part of my research on Andean engagements with climate change, I am assisting a Peruvian farmer in a legal claim for climate justice against RWE, a major German electricity company. Ethnographic encounters can lead to shared moral understandings which may provide the basis for a collaborative study of struggles for social change. While such an approach highlights the relational nature of knowledge production, it is limited in that it provides a situated perspective on an issue. Also, active political commitments can lead to conflicts of multiple loyalties if we are forced to choose in particular situations between supporting the cause or the academy. Drawing on my collaborative research on legal activism, I argue that such conflicts are in themselves valuable sites for investigating the tensions involved in contemporary anthropology where the people we study increasingly make demands on us to apply our anthropological knowledge to their benefit.

Panel P053
The limits of collaboration
  Session 1